Two Jackson County residents have been charged with animal cruelty after the sheriff’s office received an anonymous phone call about an severely malnourished and underweight dog.
Police arrested Helena Michelle Moses and Joseph Lee Fisher, both 27, on Wednesday, WHNT reported.
The authorities were alerted to the dog’s condition by an anonymous caller who said a Doberman pinscher and another dog at the home were severely malnourished. According to animal control officer Tony Wilbanks, the Doberman was so emaciated he was able to lock his hands around the dog’s waist.
One of the dogs is said to have weighed 36 pounds and could not walk.
When Moses and Fisher refused to sign the dogs over to animal control, the sheriff’s office obtained warrants for their arrests. One of the dogs was placed in the care of a foster family while the other recovers at an animal shelter.
The starved Doberman was found at their Alabama home.
“When I saw the dog, I couldn’t tell what breed it was, because it was so underfed and malnourished. Like I said, it was to the point of a walking skeleton,” said Wilbanks.
Employees at the Scottsboro-Jackson County Animal Shelter are constantly feeding and doing all they can to help the dogs get back to normal.
“I could actually put my fingers together and touch fingers around the dog’s midsection,” Wilbanks said. Wilbanks says it’s one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he’s ever seen and that when he took the dogs to the vet, the vet agreed.
After this incident, Wilbanks says he has a message for anyone who may be struggling to feed their pets.
“Never let it get to this extreme. There’s no reason why it should get to this extreme. There’s shelters out there that would take these dogs in. There’s no-kill shelters that would actually take these dogs in, if that’s what they’re afraid of, being euthanized,” Wilbanks said.
Officials say the two dogs could be available for adoption, depending on what happens in court. The doberman is currently being fostered out, as it has to be fed constantly throughout the day until it’s back to normal weight.