PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – A man is hoping to soon see charges filed against the person he says is responsible for more than a dozen of his prized dogs dying from dehydration.
For years, raising Cane Corso dogs has been Joshua Strand’s passion. He used to have well over a dozen working with him on his farm, but now only a few are left after a horrific series of events.
“Animal Control and I arrived here January 11 and we found two dogs dead in trash bags by the back door,” said Strand.
That was only the beginning of what they found as they began to walk the property. Several more were found dead in their kennels a few yards from the house. Another two dogs were found dead in a shed near the back of his property.
“There are holes in the wall where they tried to get out,” said Strand.
Strand says officers told him they all likely died due to dehydration after being locked away without water. Some dogs were allegedly locked in kennels just yards from where boxes of bottled water were stored.
For the few that were left to roam the property, Strand says the person living there had overturned dog bowls so that rainwater wouldn’t collect.
“Even if somebody was overwhelmed here, they could have just went to the back of the farm and opened the gates,” said Strand. “We live on a creek. The dogs could have watered themselves.”
In the days since the discovery, Strand has buried each of his dogs and lovingly marked their graves. They ranged in age from two years old to twelve and include his favorite helper on the farm, Duchess.
“She always was able to just do what I was thinking without me even telling her,” said Strand, close to tears. “Obviously, it’s affecting me a lot.”
Another disturbing detail is that Strand believes it all happened with young children nearby.
“The kids’ toys were all in here and set up like an active kids’ room,” said Strand. “[It was] like an active house being used, but there were rotting dogs laying everywhere.”
Strand told investigators who he thinks is responsible. WECT reached out to the Pender County Sheriff’s Office for more details on the investigation, which we’re told could be released as soon as tomorrow.
Until then, Strand is waiting for justice for Dutchess and his other four-legged best friends.
“It’s definitely not an accident,” said Strand. “Not with the bowls being flipped over. The dogs were 5 to 45 days dead so this was going on for a period of time and people were living here while they suffered.”
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