Probe begins into dog’s death

Published 10:13 am Monday, July 10, 2017

GATESVILLE – An investigation is underway over the death of a dog near here earlier this week.

Gates County Sheriff Randy Hathaway said Thursday that his officers were still gathering information on the case, which was reported July 3 to this newspaper by Kristin Rickman, Emergency Response Division Manager/Cruelty Investigations Department of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

In that report, Rickman said a PETA Community Animal Project fieldworker responded July 3 to a call for help from a Gates County resident with regard to a dying/dead dog on Roundtree Lane, off Carter’s Road, southeast of Gatesville.

“The resident had called the Gates County Sheriff’s Department [Sunday] night, at least once, as well as [Monday] morning, to report the suffering of a dog on the property,” Rickman said in a release that was also emailed to Sheriff Hathaway, Gates County Manager Natalie Rountree, four members of the Gates County Board of Commissioners, and an official of the North Carolina Court system.

“[Sunday] night, according to this resident, the dog was panting heavily and foaming at the mouth (signs of heat exhaustion/stroke),” Rickman continued. “[Monday] morning the dog was dead.”

Rickman attached several photos of what appears to be the backyard of a residence. One photo shows a dog with saliva dripping from its mouth. Another shows the same dog lying on the ground.

“Please note that this dog is one of four or five chained on this property, of which we have photographs that show dogs are exposed to the elements without the mercy of shade,” Rickman added in the news release. “A photo shared with us shows a dog (other than the one who has perished) chained with only an overturned bucket. Please join us in considering this an emergency.”

Rickman stated that a resident indicated to the PETA fieldworker that she and her partner were aware that the dog had perished, and that the dog would be buried later on Monday.

“Shortly after our fieldworker’s arrival at the address [Monday], Deputy E. Wall responded. Deputy Wall released our fieldworker and indicated that he had the scene in hand. Our fieldworker offered to Deputy Wall that PETA could fund and/or arrange a necropsy of the deceased dog,” Rickman remarked.

“We want to reiterate this offer and encourage you to undertake a criminal cruelty investigation into the death of this pit bull dog. We stand ready to assist you in any way we can, and hope you will consider us a resource. We are deeply concerned about the chained pit bulls who remain at this property without adequate protection from the terrible heat, which is predicted to rise in coming days and weeks,” Rickman concluded.

“We are working this case,” said Sheriff Hathaway. “We’ve talked to the (dog’s) owner and gotten their side of the story. If the investigation leads us in a certain direction, charges will be filed and we will remove the other dogs on the property.”

Hathaway did express a bit of frustration over the way he and his officers have been portrayed on social media regarding this case.

“What’s not making this investigation any easier is that this case has blown up on Facebook,” Hathaway noted. “I truly respect the rights of those wishing to exercise their freedom of speech. But please let us do our job in investigating the death of this dog. We are conducting a thorough investigation and we will file charges if that investigation proves animal cruelty.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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