Dog owner disputes starvation but pleads no contest to animal abuse charge

·2 min read

A former Augusta resident suspected of leaving a caged dog to starve to death with a bag of dog food within its sight was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals Tuesday.

Timothy Holt, 51, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with what animal services found June 28, 2019, when called to Holt's former home on Carrington Drive.

According to a neighbor, after he moved out in February 2019, Holt left behind two dogs at the house and only came by every couple of days or so to let them go outside briefly, said Assistant District Attorney William Hammond.

In June 2019, officials gained access to the home and found the outline of decay where one of the dogs died on the floor and inside a cage were the remains of the second dog, Pepper. All that was left of Pepper was hide and bones, Hammond said.

Earlier this year: Animal group accuses Augusta University of deaths, abuse

Holt said he buried the first dog that died on the floor but was unable to bury the second dog who died just a couple days later. That account didn't match the level of decomposition, however, Hammond said.

Hammond said Holt was cited by animal services in 2013, and again in 2018 when the dogs were running loose and killed another dog.

Holt said Tuesday that the neighbor was wrong, that he did feed and water the dogs every day but they got sick and died. There was a 50-pound bag of dog food not two feet from the cage, Holt said.

The neighbor was the one who called animal services in 2018, and the dogs hadn't done anything wrong, Holt said. But he tried to comply by keeping them inside. After he lost the family home they couldn't find anyplace to live that would allow them to bring the two large dogs, he said.

Holt's attorney, Kara Stangl, said Holt was just overwhelmed with losing the family home, domestic problems and ill health while trying to find employment.

Judge Ashley Wright accepted Holt's request to enter a "no contest" plea – neither admitting nor denying guilt – and sentenced Holt to five years' probation. He cannot have any new pets during that time.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Dog's suspected starvation death leads to charge, conviction

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