Virginia inmate’s dog dies after 2 weeks with no care

Around the South
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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — James Mckechnie was arrested and taken to the Portsmouth City Jail for DWI and reckless driving back at the beginning of April. 

A few months prior, he faced similar charges in Chesapeake.

But most recently he was hit with two animal cruelty charges — and the alleged crimes were committed all while he was behind bars. 

Court documents say in a bond hearing for his original charges, Mckechnie mentioned to his attorney he had a dog, two cats and a bird at his house off Tyron Place.

A search warrant says it had been two weeks since he went to jail.

So the lawyer, who had reason to believe no one had been caring for the animals, reached out to Portsmouth Animal Control to do a welfare check.

In the paperwork, officers describe a strong, horrible smell coming from inside. 

So they contacted the landlord, who gave them access to the home.

They say once they got inside, that smell grew even stronger.

Ultimately, officers found a dead Australian Shepherd locked inside a kennel in a bedroom. 

In the probable cause summary, officers say there was no food or water for the dog and a floor heater was turned on.

In that same room, officers also found a caged parrot.

Fortunately, it survived and they were able to seize it.

10 On Your Side talked to a neighbor, who says Mckechnie’s brother showed up a few weeks ago and cleaned out the house, explaining that’s why there’s all the trash in the yard. 

There’s no word on what happened to his cats. 

He is expected back in court for the animal cruelty charges on June 5.

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