Man convicted of animal cruelty after dog found dead at foreclosed house

Evan Mays • Updated Jun 21, 2018 at 10:27 AM

Michael Aaron Wilson, 52, was found guilty of animal cruelty on Wednesday after animal control discovered the remains of a dog on his former property.

According to Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Officer Lee Lawson, Wilson lost his house at 900 E. Watauga Ave. to foreclosure, and when employees arrived to clean the house, they discovered the backyard was overgrown with trees, which were covering a doghouse. Within the doghouse, the cleaners discovered the dead body of a dog.

“We had calls about the dog before,” Lawson said. “But, every time we investigated the calls we found that Wilson was meeting the minimum requirements needed.”

Lawson said Wilson claimed the dog died of natural causes and he was aware of its passing. But, he was too upset to do anything with the remains. Lawson said it’s more likely that the dog had been dead for some time, and only when he was going to move out of the house did Wilson discover its body.

According to Lawson, there’s not enough being done to prevent similar cases of cruelty from happening.

“If there were stricter requirements, then something could have been done to help this dog much earlier,” Lawson said.

“We currently have a task force that is meeting and discussing things we would like to see change within the guidelines and regulations relating to cases like these,” he added.

When asked what citizens can do to help animals in need, Lawson encouraged them to get involved at the local animal shelters.

“If something is going to be changed, it will take the public’s backing,” Lawson said.

Wilson was ordered to pay a $200 fine and was placed on probation.