Deputies: Dog found starving, owner charged

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


SARATOGA — Sheriff’s deputies have charged a man with animal cruelty after finding a dog starved, dehydrated and malnourished, officials said.

Deputies were called to the 8106 Rogers St. home to check on the dog’s well-being Monday. A caller told dispatchers he was checking on a neighbor’s home while the man was in the hospital. The dog belonged to the property owner’s nephew, who was also living there, deputies said.

The caller said he couldn’t get into the home, but through a window, he saw a dog lying on the floor, according to Wanda Samuel, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office chief of staff. The caller told officials it appeared the dog hadn’t been fed and didn’t have access to water.

The caller also attempted to contact family members but was unsuccessful, Samuel said. An animal enforcement detective arrived, saw the dog’s condition and obtained a search warrant to enter the home and rescue the dog.

That’s when the homeowner’s nephew, 41-year-old Phillip Jerome Whitley, arrived and claimed the dog belonged to his ex-girlfriend, who no longer lived there but left the dog with him, officials said.

Animal enforcement officers took the dog to a local veterinary hospital where it was treated for pneumonia, dehydration, starvation and malnourishment, Samuel said.

Whitley was charged with one count of animal cruelty and given a $500 secured bond.

The dog stayed overnight at the veterinarian’s office and was given medications and fluids, Samuel said. The dog is currently at the county’s animal shelter and receiving antibiotics and reportedly eating well, she added.