Animal advocates call for stricter enforcement on animal abuse in York County

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An 18-month-old puppy that was found at the end of November in York, tied to a tree and its tongue was cut out, has died.

The dog, named Briggs, was receiving 24-hour ICU-care for several weeks after he was found at the intersection of Madison St. and Lowry Row. According to Noah's Arks Rescue, Briggs died on Tuesday after the infection from his mouth spread into his blood stream.

York police say the dog's injuries are indicative of dog fighting. Investigators have tracked down a previous owner based on the chip in the dog, but have yet to find its current owner.

PREVIOUS: Dog found with tongue cut out, tied to tree passes away

Animal advocates in York County say this is just one of many animal abuse cases they have seen over the decades in York County.

Sarge Douglas says she and others part of the Committee of Responsible Pet Ownership (CRPO) are calling on law enforcement and County Council to be stricter on animal abusers.

"If we're seeing it, then so can anybody that's a potential employer wanting to move a company here or a potential resident that wants to move to this area, they can just drive around and see these cases and look and say this is representative of York County? Is this what we really want them to see?" Douglas said.

RELATED: Police: Puppy found tied to tree in SC, tongue cut out

Douglas says they want the local ordinances to be more defined and more strictly enforced, but it may not be as simple of a request as it seems.

Sgt. Robbie Ellis is over Code Enforcement at the York County Sheriff's Office. Ellis says they are in charge of regulating animal complaints, precious metals, towing and wrecking, shooting ranges and noise complaints, to name a few.

However, the unit is only made up of two officers, making it harder for them to actively patrol and look for those violating animal ordinances.

"Unfortunately, due to manpower we are complaint based, so when the call comes in we handle it," Ellis said.

He says tracking down those who are dog fighting can be even trickier since it's an underground sport embedded in a tight-knit and secretive community.

"Even if we kind of know or feel that they are fighting these dogs, unless you catch them in the act of the actual fight … that's what's hard to prove," Ellis said.

If you see multiple dogs, often pit bulls, chained in someone's yard, as well as several cars coming in and out at certain times, it could be signs of dog fighting. Deputies recommend you report any activity that looks suspicious to Crime Stoppers, so that Code Enforcement can follow up.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.