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South Hill man guilty in animal cruelty case

SoVaNow.com / April 30, 2014

Mecklenburg County saw its first case of animal cruelty in nearly ten years with the conviction of Gordon Walker Wells Jr. of South Hill this week.

Wells entered an Alford plea in Mecklenburg County Circuit Court after having been indicted on one count of felony animal cruelty. Under an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to secure a conviction.

His sentencing is set for July 16, when he could face a maximum penalty of five years in jail, and pay restitution for the cost of caring for animals seized from his home, and court costs.

Senior Dog Warden Doug Blanton is also asking the court to prohibit Wells from owning or caring for any domestic animal in the future.

According to Blanton, Wells had been under investigation several months ago for alleged animal cruelty. The claims were unfounded at the time, but Wells was given a warning and notified that the situation was being monitored by Blanton’s office.

“The situation with the dogs got better,” said Blanton, and so the oversight of Wells and his dogs was terminated.

In early February, Blanton received a new complaint about Wells. When he arrived at the home, Blanton discovered three dead dogs, and four severely emaciated and dehydrated. The dead dogs, which were in various stages of decomposition, were in the cages with the live dogs, and one was still attached to its chain.

Blanton immediately removed the live dogs from Well’s home, bringing them to the county dog pound for treatment and recovery.

“We had the dogs for about five weeks before they were adopted. I’ve followed up with the new owners, and the dogs appear to be doing very well,” said Blanton.

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