A N.C. Highway Patrol stop earlier this week has helped the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department’s Animal Control Division rein in a Roseboro-area man wanted in connection with a cruelty case involving the starvation death of one animal and the chaining of another.
Billy Ray Thompson Jr., 31, of 264 Sir Lane Roseboro, was charged by county officers with one felony count of kill animal by starvation and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. In addition, the Highway Patrol cited Thompson for a seat belt violation, having a revoked license, operating a vehicle with no insurance, having a fictitious plate and an inspection violation.
According to Sgt. Jessica Kittrell, with the Sheriff’s Animal Control Division, she had been searching for Thompson in connection with the animal cruelty case sine late January.
“I was actively seeking Mr. Thompson for an incident that occurred on Jan. 29 in which I received a complaint of a dead dog chained to a tree, and another skinny dog locked inside a storage building,” Kittrell noted in reports.
She went to the Sir Lane address on Jan. 29, around 1:35 p.m., she said, to investigate. ” I located a deceased brown pit pull breed canine tied to a tree, dead inside a blue plastic barrel,” she said, noting that the animal had visible sores on its body.
Inside a locked storage building, she said she could hear an animal moving around. Not able to locate Thompson or to get anyone to answer the door, Kittrell said she obtained a search warrant and went back to enter the storage building to check on the animal’s welfare.
“I did locate a juvenile pit bull breed canine inside the storage building,” she said, stressing that the animal was underweight and had no access to fresh water.
That animal, she said, was taken back to the Sampson County Animal Shelter, and the deceased canine was transported to a lab for testing.
Thompson was jailed Feb. 18 on the animal charges and given a $9,000 bond. He remained in the Detention Center Thursday. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in Sampson County District Court on Feb. 28.
The misdemeanor charge was leveled, Kittrell said, due to the deceased dog being chained with a logging chain “well in excess of the dog’s body weight.”
The juvenile canine, she said, will be held at the Animal Shelter until the conclusion of the criminal trial.