Lakeland police arrested 54-year-old Genar Smith and charged him with felony cruelty to animals.
According to WFLA, the officer who responded to Smith’s home says he found two dogs chained to the ground, three in a medium-sized cage, and one in a large cage. One of the dogs in the medium cage was dead and the other two dogs had apparently eaten most of it’s neck and skull.
The dogs were reportedly “considerably malnourished” with their rib cages and hip bones clearly visible due to starvation. One of the dogs that was alive in the medium cage also had part of its tail eaten off.
Officers reportedly didn’t see any food or water in any of the bowls. There was also no overhead cover to protect the animals from the elements.
WFLA reports, Smith told officers he fed the dogs a mixture of dog food, rice and beans, and gave them water every day. However he did admit he had never taken the dogs to a veterinarian.
When asked about the deceased dog in the medium cage, Smith allegedly told officers that he thought the dog died the night before. Animal control officers reportedly told police they believed the dog was eaten by the other two pit-bulls due to starvation.
“All of the dogs that the officers saw appeared to be starving. Animal control showed up and also confirmed that as well,” Lakeland Police Spokesperson Gary Gross told WFLA.
“This is one of the worst in a long time that we’ve had. Anybody hates to see a dog that is starved but then you have two dogs feeding off another it’s shocking,” said Gross.
Smith reportedly signed away ownership of the three male dogs but declined to sign away the two female dogs. All five dogs were transported to Animal Control.