Johnson City man charged with animal cruelty after carcass found on property, animal control says

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Mar 29, 2018 at 8:48 PM

After receiving multiple tips, a Johnson City man was cited for animal cruelty when a dog’s carcass was found outside a foreclosed home, animal control officers said Thursday.

Michael Aaron Wilson, 52, had left the home on Feb. 12, according to Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Officer Cecil Lee Lawson.

After receiving several calls about the dog at 900 E. Watauga Ave., officials said they found the carcass of what appeared to be a male brown Labrador dog that was left behind in the overgrown backyard.

“People were concerned about the way it looked,” Lawson said.

Animal Control Senior Officer Wayne Thomas received a call Friday from workers who said they found the carcass while cleaning the foreclosed property.

“He said he had information about where he was at and we were able to locate him,” Thomas said. “That morning, I got the call and turned it over to Lee.”

After making the discovery, officials cited Wilson, who is set to appear in court on April 18.

“Normally, if they are convicted, they are put on a list of animal abusers,” Lawson said.

Lawson said people have called animal control about the dog at the residence in the past. Most recently, neighbors were concerned about the welfare of the dog during the winter. Lawson said the dog was left outside in a dog house during freezing temperatures.

Unfortunately, Lawson said Wilson provided the bare minimum legal requirements for the dog, including a dog house, food and water. All Lawson could do at that time was check on the welfare of the dog and provide blankets.

The dog looked healthy at the time, but he said he was still concerned for the dog’s wellbeing before finding the carcass more than a month later.

“When it got colder, I took blankets by there for the dog,” Lawson said. “That’s something I do, I carry them around because the law doesn’t require bedding for dogs yet.”

Lawson said local residents should contact the shelter if they suspect similar cases, even if the owner appears to be meeting the minimum legal requirements for their pets.

“Anytime somebody suspects an animal is being mistreated — even if they are meeting the bare minimum requirements — they should contact the animal shelter,” he said. “Even if they aren’t in bad shape, we like to know if there is a dog that needs to be checked up on more.”