Special Photo: A Dachshund impounded by the Henry County Animal shelter is blind due to the neglect of the dog, according to shelter officials.
A Locust Grove father and son have been given the maximum penalty of $6,000 each, 30 days in jail, and 35 months on probation, for animal cruelty in Henry County, according to county authorities.
Henry County Animal Control officials cited Robert Lee Beckham, and his son, Michael Glenn Beckham, with animal-cruelty violations earlier this month. The Locust Grove Police Department followed the citations by charging Robert Beckham, 55, with six counts of cruelty to animals, and Michael Beckham, 27, with five counts of cruelty to animals.
One of three female dachshund-mix dogs appeared almost dead when she was rescued from 234 Stonewall Lane, in Locust Grove, according to one animal control officer, who only identified himself as Officer Canon.
He said when he arrived at the Beckham home, he saw what appeared to be a patch of leaves in the yard. “Had the dog never lifted its head, I would have never seen it,” said Cannon. The dog is also blind.
“I have never in my life seen a dog that had so many fleas,” said Gerri Yoder, the director of the Henry County Animal Control Shelter. “She was literally more fleas than dog. She was covered in a layer of black crust, that was probably an inch thick.” Yoder said because fleas eat blood, as she washed the dog, the water turned red from the dried blood.
“She collapsed in the bath tub,” added Yoder. “I had to immediately take her to the veterinary hospital.” The dog was diagnosed as being severely anemic, and her body temperature was low, at 94 degrees.
“We had to put her in a heating pad to get her body temperature up,” said Yoder.
Even though she and her staff bathed the dog, Yoder said, once the veterinarian administered a Capstar, a pill which instantly rids the animal of fleas, other parasites began to fall off the dog.
“It took us six days to get the maggots out of her ears,” said the director.
At a hearing on Sept. 20, Municipal Court of Locust Grove Judge W. Donald Patten, Jr., ordered the immediate arrest of the Beckhams. They remained in the Henry County Jail at press time, Tuesday.
“In my 27 years with animal control, this is one of the largest fines I have seen handed down,” said Vince A. Farah, Henry County Animal Control Supervisor. “They can never own another animal, and they have to pay [the] dogs’ bills to the shelter.”
Officer Cannon said a Boston terrier also was flea-infested and missing half of its hair. He said the dog was thin. He also reported a small Chihuahua was thin and covered in fleas. The dogs, along with a caged rabbit, were impounded.