Gold Hill man faces animal cruelty charges
A Gold Hill man faces 35 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty after authorities say he failed to feed dogs, kittens and a parrot among 42 animals living at his single-wide mobile home.
Troy Houston Autry, 49, who lives in the 13000 block of N.C. 52, was served with a criminal summons following a complaint from Rowan County Animal Control.
The criminal summons issued Thursday says some of the animals had skin conditions and eye infections, and others were underweight. One of the animals, a dog, was pregnant and another dog was blind.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office served the summons and Autry is scheduled to be in court April 2.
Rowan County Animal Control officials received an anonymous call about the condition of the animals. When animal control officers arrived at the mobile home, there were a total of 42 animals at the home. Autry surrendered seven to officers.
Since Autry gave ownership of the seven animals to the shelter, he was charged regarding the 35 other animals, said Field Supervisor Tommy Staton.
Staton called the condition of the home “horrendous” and “unsanitary.” He said the floor was soaked with urine and covered in animal feces. The dogs, he said, were all in carriers, some containing multiple animals.
All of the animals are now at the county shelter and will remain there until the case goes to court.
Staton said he hopes a judge will surrender the dogs to the shelter and find that Autry and Peggy Bost, who also lives in the home, should not own or care for dogs, ever.
If a judge terminates Autry’s ownership of the animals and he does not appeal, they would be available immediately for adoption.
This is not the first time authorities have seized animals from Autry’s address. Nearly 10 years ago, law enforcement investigated the home, and its owner, Bost, for animal cruelty. In 2002, Bost was convicted on multiple charges of mistreating animals. Many of those animals were dogs. She was again charged with animal cruelty in March 2003, while on probation.
Bost was not named in the latest criminal summons.
In that earlier investigation, Staton said, the home was in a similar condition and had to be destroyed. The current mobile home on that property, he said, is a different mobile home.
Autry, who was at home late Friday evening, said he did not want to comment.
Bost acknowledged some dogs were sick. But they were not starved, she said.
Bost said she believed two chihuahuas had a skin condition, which she attributed to old age. Bost said she and Autry were placing medication on the dogs and Autry spent $200 a month on dog and other animal food. Bost said she and Autry both care for the animals.
“These were his pets. The doctor told me it was good for me to be around pets. I have crippling arthritis,” Bost said.
She said some of the dogs’ carriers were “a little dirty” but denies the floor was covered in urine and feces. Bost said she uses bleach to clean the floor.
Some of the dog’s toenails were significantly overgrown. Bost said she did trim the dogs’ toenails, but often didn’t want to trim the toenails too close. She also said she planned to clip the dogs’ toenails.
“I love all animals and he does too. I’ve had dogs all my life,” she said.
Bost said some of the dogs Autry bought, while some had babies, others were strays and others were given to the couple by friends who were unable to take care of their pets.
“The little ones I bought, a couple was given to me. He bought most of the dogs,” Bost said.
The smaller dogs, she said, were in carriers indoors and the larger dogs, seven of them, were outdoors in a lot behind the home.
“Those dogs love him and love me. They were like our family. When you got family, you take care of them. They never went hungry. We’re not the wicked mean people that everyone is making us out to be,” Bost said.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.