On August 24, Anthony Smith and Takisha White, were each charged with six counts of animal cruelty and abandonment, exactly one month after a Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter worker found six puppies on their doorstep, two had died and all had mutilated tails. Their tail were literally rotting off.

Someone had tried to dock their tail by wrapping rubber bands around them and the wounds were seriously infected. It was likely that the puppies had suffered for weeks like this.

“All four puppies had to have a tail amputation on July 26 from the injuries they received from their prior owners,” Young’s Animal Hospital Veterinarian Stephen Strickler said. “To see the infection and the appearance of the skin and the tail, I guess disgusting is a good way to put it.”

Despite the long surgery, the 10 week old boxer puppies, 3 male and 1 female, made a wonderful recovery and have all since been adopted into new home where they can have a bright future.

Far too often in cases like this, the abusers are never caught but in this case a woman came forward and told the authorities that she knew who the puppies had belonged to.

“We got a tip from a property manager,” said Debbie Dobbs, director of the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter. “After the story about the puppies ran in the paper, she called and said, “I know those puppies. They were in (Smith’s) front yard.”

By this time Smith had left the state but they were waiting for him when he returned to deal with another matter.

“He had been living in North Carolina, but then he came back across the state line late last week,” Dobbs said. “He was coming back to deal with (a domestic issue), and his caseworker knew we were looking for him, too.”

When an animal control officer met Smith at his former residence and showed him the pictures he didn’t deny that the puppies were his.

“He looked at the pictures and repeatedly said, “Yes, those are my babies,” Dobbs said. “I can’t even comprehend why they thought this was OK.”

Both Smith and White are due in sessions court in September to answer to the cruelty charges.

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