‘It turns me off’: backlash after Durham man accused of letting 5 dogs die when he was deported
DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – Neighbors reacted in disgust on Monday after learning that a Durham man is accused of letting a dog and four puppies die when he was evicted from an apartment.
Markeem Carlton Owens, 32, who lived in an apartment along Rue Rochelle, faces five counts of animal cruelty and other charges.
Authorities discovered the dogs dead on October 14 when a County Durham deputy was called to help apartment management enter the padlocked apartment.
Once the door opened, the deputy reported “a strong smell of decomposition and excrement”.
Bri Odom, a neighbor on Monday afternoon, said: “It turns me off, honestly. “
Odom said she saw police in the apartment a few weeks ago and didn’t know what was going on at the time, but noticed the appearance of officers entering and leaving of the appartment.
“They looked a little squeamish – like they were throwing up or something… like they looked sick in their face,” Odom said.
The adult dog and the four puppies were too badly decomposed for a cause of death to be determined, the sheriff’s office said.
Along with the bodies, moldy food and rotting feces were found in the apartment.
Durham Humane Society director Shafonda Allen – who is a veteran in the field – was stunned by the case.
While her agency is not involved, she has looked into the details.
“I’ve been here for over 20 years and I don’t think I’ve seen a situation as bad as this,” Allen said.
Odom said Owens had a choice – instead of just letting the dogs die.
“You could have dropped them off at the animal shelter if you didn’t want them,” she said.
Allen said animal surrenders had increased in recent weeks as moratoriums on pandemic evictions expired.
Says his agency is still able to help with food or accommodate animals in need
But Allen reminded pet owners, “If you have a pet, you are responsible for it the same way you would a child.”
Right after last month’s gruesome discovery, authorities attempted to locate Owens, but were unable to contact him.
The sheriff’s office said a deputy investigator spoke to a grand jury that indicted Owens on animal cruelty charges and 10 other animal-related offenses.
Owens was arrested Monday and given a guaranteed bond of $ 10,000.
The County of Durham Sheriff’s Office said there are resources available to help pet owners who are struggling.
“There is never an excuse to abandon a pet inside a residence. The Durham Society for the Protection of Animals is here to help, ”the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “The Durham Society for the Protection of Animals at County Durham Animal Shelter is an open admission shelter. This means they will accept any pet in County Durham.
If you live in County Durham and can no longer keep your pet, contact the Durham Society for the Protection of Animals by calling (919) 560-0640.
If you believe an animal has been abandoned or is being abused, contact the Durham Communication Center at 919-560-0900 and an Animal Services Assistant will respond.