A Thomson man has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly neglecting three dogs he kept at the house he was renting on Michael Street.
Ricardo Torez Bell, 32, of the 400 block of Michael Street, was arrested shortly before 10 a.m. Jan. 5 on three counts of animal cruelty.
Thomson Police Chief Joe Nelson said he was on his way to work when he received a call from a resident of Michael Street who said the dogs at Bell’s home had been barking and whining all night. The neighbor also told him the dogs did not have food or water.
Nelson responded to the call himself, and spoke with the owner of the house, Jimmy Jones, of Charlotte, N.C.
Nelson said Jones arrived at the home the morning of Jan. 5 and found three dogs, two in a fenced-in area behind the house and one that had escaped.
He called Gail Newsome, manager of the McDuffie County Animal Shelter, and asked that someone from animal control meet him at the residence.
According to an incident report, Jones told Nelson that he planned to evict Bell from the residence and that he had already called animal control to remove the dogs. Calvin Legget, with animal control, arrived soon after to assist Nelson.
“They had no shelter, no water and no food,” Nelson said. “The two dogs at the residence were in bad shape and beyond any chance of being saved.”
As he and Legget were collecting the dogs, Bell arrived.
“I asked when was the last time he’d cared for the dogs, and he said it had been a while and that he hadn’t fed them in at least two weeks,” Nelson said. “At that point, I asked him to turn around and I placed him under arrest.”
Bell was taken to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.
The dogs were taken to the McDuffie County Animal Shelter. Nelson said he later spoke with Newsome, who informed him that two of the three dogs were so malnourished, afflicted with worms and covered in sores that they had to be euthanized.