Warrant issued for man after Lenoir landlord finds starved dogs at rented home

Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk
Ben Kirk

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) - Officials obtained an animal cruelty arrest warrant for a man after his landlord found starved dogs in a rented home.

According to Caldwell County Animal Control, 23-year-old Dieron O'Shay Ruff is wanted for one count of misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals.

The investigation began on Jan. 25, 2018 when property owner Benjamin Kirk arrived at the house in the 2500 block of  Fiesta Court, in Lenoir to evict the tenants, which included Ruff.

Heaps of clothes, half eaten food and drug equipment were strewn across the home that Kirk rents.

"It stirs you inside and it shakes you to the core," Kirk says.

It is a sight no landlord wants to see, but it is how Kirk says he found the Fiesta Court home on Thursday.

"Cockroaches, rats, you name it. They had it," he says.

Among things left behind, it's what was left in the backyard that shook him the most.

"I said, these dogs are dead," Kirk said.

Two dogs, he says, were found chained and left for dead in the yard, with their ribs exposed, as if they'd been starved.

Kirk called officials when he said he discovered two deceased dogs on the property. The dogs are believed to have been two Pitbull type dogs.

"I didn't understand why they didn't see what I see," he says.

Kirk says after he dialed the department, Ruff, who he knows as "D," covered one dog in a shallow grave and ran off. He was stunned when he says animal control officers who arrived shortly after, did nothing.

"It just blew my mind when everyone decided well, we're going to go home, there's really nothing here."

Kirk is a dog lover and says he can't imagine seeing his pets meet that same fate. He is now worried about any other dog that lives with the man who used to stay in this home.

"He's going to do it again and they're going to look the other way again," he claims.

Kirk says he was not able to get through when he tried to call animal control officers in the five days since this happened. He claims it was the attention his post on social media got, that finally got their attention.

WBTV had also been trying to contact Caldwell County Animal Control since Friday.

Emails and calls went unreturned, but a reporter caught up with the director as she was leaving for the night Tuesday.

Jenna Mullinax said she was working on a warrant in the case, but could not comment further.

Investigators with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, Animal Control obtained the warrant for Ruff's arrest Wednesday.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Dieron O'Shay Ruff should contact your local law enforcement agency.

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