The owner of a wolf-dog mix in Bluffton has been charged with cruelty to animals after neighbors complained about the dog's treatment, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
The 5-year-old male wolf mix named Shadow was taken by Beaufort County Animal Control officers to the county animal shelter Wednesday morning. Sheriff's Sgt. Robin McIntosh said the misdemeanor charge against the owner, Nick Turner, 32, of Baywood Drive, was prompted by the dog's cramped, unsanitary living conditions.
The dog also appeared to be underweight but is expected to recover, she said. Further medical examinations at the shelter were planned.
Turner also was charged because the dog's rabies tag was expired, McIntosh said.
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Turner said Tuesday he has been working with animal control officers to make sure Shadow is healthy and up-to-date on his vaccinations. He said he has the dog up for adoption because he's struggled in the past few months to make ends meet.
"I feel our rights have been violated," he said Wednesday of the charges. "I didn't see this coming and I don't think it's warranted." On Friday, a neighbor called dispatchers to report the animal might have been abandoned, according to a Sheriff's Office report.
The deputy found an eviction notice on the home and the dog in a kennel covered with "diarrhea feces." A bag of dog food had been left in the kennel, but "numerous bugs" were inside the bag, the report said.
The deputy tried calling Turner several times but was unable to reach him, the report said. The deputy also contacted Animal Control to investigate.
Animal control officers had a visit planned this week with Turner, McIntosh said.
On Wednesday, Turner was released on his own recognizance from the Beaufort County Detention Center.
Follow reporter Cassie Foss at twitter.com/LCBlotter.