Alleged dog abuser receives ’killing’ charge

By: By Chris Berendt -

A man charged with animal cruelty resulting in the euthanization of eight dogs last month has received another offense alleging he killed one due to starvation, according to reports.

Leon Taylor Jr., 46, of 101 Nutmeg Lane, Lot C, Clinton, was issued and served a warrant Wednesday on a charge of killing an animal by starvation. He was taken into custody at a residence on East Railroad Street, Clinton, and placed under $5,000 secured bond for the charge.

Taylor was charged Nov. 18 with 15 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, two counts of possession of firearm by felon and possession of weapon of mass destruction.

Those initial charges against Taylor stemmed from an investigation by the Sampson County Animal Control, whose officers observed a malnourished Pit bull tied up in the yard at the Nutmeg Lane residence on Nov. 17. Further investigation by the officers found there were a total of eight malnourished canines on the property.

Kittrell said there were multiple counts brought for each of the dogs.

Sgt. Jessica Kittrell, who leads the Animal Control unit, was responding to a call of a loose horse in the area of Nutmeg Lane when she saw what appeared to be a dog kennel on a nearby property, and then the emaciated canine.

“They were very, very neglected,” she said.

Animal Control officers obtained a search warrant and the animals were seized and transported to the Sampson Animal Shelter. During a search of the property, two firearms were seized — one weapon seized was a sawed-off shotgun, which is considered a weapon of mass destruction, bringing that charge.

There were seven Pit bulls and one German Shepherd transported to the Sampson County Animal Shelter. The animals were seized, along with firearms, and a man taken into custody. The dogs had to be euthanized due to the extent of its malnourishment.

Kittrell alluded to the possibility in the weeks that followed that Taylor could face another charge, noting that one of the dogs was “in really bad shape” and could have been starved to death.

Kittrell said the body of one of the Pit bulls that had to be put down was transported to Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Raleigh, part of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, so a necropsy could be conducted.

Following the results of that examination, the additional charge was brought Wednesday.

Taylor was placed under $32,000 unsecured bond and given a court date of Dec. 12 for the initial animal cruelty counts. He was given a Dec. 15 court date for killing an animal by starvation charge.


By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.