JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office arrested a couple on felony animal cruelty charges earlier this month below after two severely malnourished dogs were found at a home on County Road 114.
One of the dogs was in such bad shape that it died shortly after it was taken to a veterinary clinic, according to the probable cause affidavits.
Amber Nicole Barthol, 36, and Joshua Sheb Cloudy, 36, both of Jasper, were arrested and charged with third-degree felony cruelty to non-livestock animals: kill, poison, or serious bodily injury.
According to the probable cause affidavits, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden contacted the Jasper County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 15 about a white, boxer dog at a home in the 1600 block of CR 114. The game warden said the dog appeared to be extremely malnourished.
"We were able to locate the dog pen in the backyard, and upon our approach, the white boxer dog came out," the affidavit stated. "It was obvious from the appearance of the dog that it had not been fed or watered in a very long time. Upon our initial findings, we noticed that there was no food or water available for the dog."
The affidavit stated that there was a small amount of rainwater in a nearby plastic bucket, but it was also green from algae. In addition, the boxer was "extremely emaciated, and its bones were showing."
When the JCSO deputies took a closer look at the dog pen, they found a smaller dog that appeared to be a brown and white terrier. One of the deputies went into the pen to check the terrier out and found that it was also extremely malnourished, and it was barely breathing, the affidavit stated.
At that point, the deputies made the decision to take custody of the dogs because of the cold temperatures. The JCSO animal control officer and her husband, another JCSO deputy, came to the house to assist.
After the animal control officer pulled the terrier out of the dog house, it was stiff, "almost as if it was frozen in that position," the affidavit stated. When she tried to move it to wrap it in a blanket, it whined in pain, and she had to carry it to the vehicle because it was too weak to walk, the affidavit stated.
The JCSO deputies were told later that the terrier died shortly after it arrived at the Lakes Area Veterinary Hospital.
When JCSO deputies went back to speak to Barthol and Cloudy, they both said they tried to feed the dogs, but they wouldn't gain weight, the affidavit stated. Barthol allegedly told them that they fed their dogs every day, but the white dog kept throwing it up. She also told them she had been giving the dogs vitamins and Pedialyte shakes, the affidavit stated.
One deputy asked if they could see the food Barthol and Cloudy had been feeding their dogs, and she allegedly replied that she kept it on the porch. However, when the deputy asked to see it again, she said she gave it to a friend the night before, the affidavit stated.
In addition, Barthol did not have updated shot records for either dog, the affidavit stated.
The veterinarian who examined the dogs told the JCSO deputy who obtained the affidavit that the terrier had been six months to one year old, and it only weighed 9.5 pounds. He added that the dog was so hypothermic that the thermometer would not read its temperature and that it was covered in fleas.
The veterinarian also told the deputy that the likely cause of death for the terrier was a combination of fleas, intestinal worms, and a lack of nutritious food that led to anemia, wasting syndrome, and hypothermia, the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, the vet said the boxer was also severely emaciated. The veterinarian said the boxer was also suffering from anemia, hypothermia, and emaciation that was probably caused by intestinal worms and a lack of nutritious food.