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Sunday, Apr 12, 2009County: Rowan
Alleged: Lonnie E. Whitt , Jr.
The man accused of stealing two dogs from the Rowan County Animal Shelter sits behind bars on animal cruelty charges after the dogs were discovered days later with cuts and deep puncture wounds allegedly caused by dog fighting.
Lonnie E. Whitt Jr., 22, of Morehead is charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree animal cruelty in connection to the April 12 burglary at the shelter when an American Bulldog and a Beagle were allegedly put into the same cage to see if the animals would fight.
Morehead Police arrested Whitt May 26 on a warrant signed by District Judge Don Blair.
"Officer Brad Gillock and Lt. David Sexton issued the warrant at 9:38 p.m. when Whitt was found parked at Whites Ready Mart" said Chief Mike Adams. "The state police actually had the complaint against him, we just served the warrant."
Following the alleged burglary, Holstein the Bulldog and Jake the Beagle made the front page of the April 23 edition of The Morehead News. A reader recognized Holstein as a dog spotted on a chain at a home near Elliottville. The homeowner, not identified, said he found the animal wandering around the neighborhood.
Jake was discovered April 25 in the Clearfield area with deep puncture wounds to his neck, belly, legs and chest. Holstein also had visible cuts and tears to his skin. Both dogs were taken to a local veterinarian and treated for injuries.
Members of STAR (Saving the Animals of Rowan) fear both dogs may have been used for dog fighting.
Signs of the Holstein being dragged into Jake's cage were evident as blood and pieces of flesh were caught on the edges of a fence where Holstein was kept. Jan Dacci, a member of STAR, said she believes the dogs were put together to see if they would fight.
In fact, she said dogs are stolen from the pound on a weekly basis, and on most occasions, those taken are of the pit bull and boxer breeds.
It was not known by press time if Jake or Holstein had been adopted. Dacci and other members of STAR recently requested from county officials additional security cameras and extra fencing at the pound.
STAR is a local group formed to get dogs out of the pound and into new homes.
Whitt remains in the Rowan County Detention Center on a $10,000 full-cash bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday at 2 p.m. in Rowan District Court
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