JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - An anonymous call led to the removal of 45 animals from a residence in Jacksonville, four which were already dead.
According to a press release, Onslow County Animals Services received an anonymous call on May 13 of possible animal cruelty at 128 Forbes Estate Dr. in Jacksonville. The caller met officers at the scene and advised there were dozens of animals inside the home. Animal control learned the residents and owners of the animals had been out of town since May 6.
Officers reported detecting a strong odor coming from within the residence. After compiling statements from witnesses who had recently been inside the residence a search/seizure warrant was obtained through the Onslow County Magistrate Office.
OCAS and the Onslow County Sheriff's Office executed the search warrant at the home later on May 13. When they entered the home, they found a deceased dog. Another dog suffering from convulsions had to be euthanized at the scene. In all, they found and seized 31 dogs (2 deceased), 13 cats/kittens (2 deceased) and a pig.
The animals' owners were notified of the seizure and, On Friday, OCAS filed charges at the Onslow County Magistrate's Office for Damian Irvin and Samantha Wesche. Each faces two felony counts of cruelty to animals and 45 misdemeanor counts of mistreatment to animals.
Both suspects are currently not in custody.
“The residence did not have a properly functioning air conditioner at the time entry was made," OCAS Director Howard Martin said. "Our officers found all animals, including the pig, in pet crates without proper food and water supplies. Several of the cats’ crates were found inside a bathroom and closets.”
OCAS confirms the investigation is ongoing as they continue conducting interviews with witnesses. Additional charges are pending in connection with this case. All animals are in the care of OCAS and are being evaluated. The surrendered animals are not available for adoption at this time.