CPD: "Dogs had to eat dirt, tree bark"; arrests made in animal cruelty investigations

    Photo: Columbia Police Department

    **Warning - Pictures of the dogs from Hergett Drive may be disturbing**

    Two men are facing charges and a third is sought in connection with two animal cruelty case in the City of Columbia.

    The Columbia Police Department has charged 41-year-old Joseph Harris with two counts of ill treatment of animals.

    Harris is accused of not properly taking care of two adult pit bulls while at a home on Gary Street last month.

    On Oct. 24, officers were called to the home at the request of the City of Columbia animal control officers who initially responded to a complaint about dogs and their living conditions.

    Upon their investigation, officers found that one of the dogs weighed 20.6 pounds and lived inside of a wooden crate with a minimal amount of room to move. The dog also had a large logging chain, nearly 14 pounds, around its neck and was without food or water.

    The second dog, that weighed 22.4 pounds was also without food or water and was found inside of a small enclosed space in a cage underneath the house.

    The dogs were taken and cared for by the City of Columbia Animal Services so that they could be cared for and available for adoption.

    In a second case, officers charged 37-year-old Antonio Lorick with five counts of ill treatment of animals.

    On Sept. 28, officers responded to 1604 Hergett Drive after receiving a call from the National Humane Society regarding an animal cruelty complaint.

    Five pit bulls were found emaciated in the backyard of the home without any food or water. A veterinarian who examined the dogs discovered that the dogs had to eat dirt and tree bark to survive.

    Investigators are now searching for 22-year-old Antonio Burkett in connection with the incident. Once arrested officers say Burkett will be charged with five counts of ill treatment of animals.

    His arrest warrants have been entered into the National Crime Information Center Database.

    Anyone with information about Burkett’s whereabouts are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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