Hampton man pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

Published 8:22 am Friday, February 3, 2017

Nicholas Loveless

Nicholas Loveless

A Carter County man is serving five days in jail after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges stemming from an investigation where police say he abandoned animals at a home when he moved out.
Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Nicholas Zane Loveless, 34, of 3341 Gap Creek Road, Hampton, on Tuesday on a warrant charging him with three counts of cruelty to animals.
Loveless appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Wednesday morning where he entered a guilty plea to all three counts of animal cruelty.
Judge Keith Bowers Jr. sentenced Loveless to spend five days in jail and then serve 11 months and 29 days on probation. Bowers ordered Loveless to pay a $25 fine on each count of cruelty to animals as well as court costs. Bowers additionally ordered the man to complete 30 hours of community service and ordered that he not own any animals for a period of one year.
According to court documents, deputies of the Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on Patrick Henry Drive after a neighbor called 911 and reported someone had abandoned pets at the home after moving out.
“Upon arrival, I noticed a dog chained up outside. The dog had a dog house and a water bowl, but no food,” said CCSO Sgt. Mark McClain. “A neighbor brought over some dog food, and we fed the dog, and he appeared to be starved. He ate the dog food so fast that he threw up twice.”
McClain said the neighbor told him the previous resident moved out about three or four weeks ago and left the animals at the home. The neighbor said she saw someone check the mail at the house within the past week but the person did not check on or feed the animals.
“The house was locked, but two small kittens could be seen through the living room window,” McClain said. “The kittens had completely tore up the living room by destroying couches, pillows, and other pieces of furniture.”
McClain said he attempted to contact the previous resident, identified as Loveless, several times but was not successful.
“Carter County Animal Control was contacted, and they advised they could not take any more pets right now,” McClain said. The officer said he contacted Washington County Animal Control but was told they could not take the animals either.
While McClain was still on scene, he said Loveless responded to a text message and said he would send someone to get the pets later that night.
“I advised Mr. Loveless that the dog had been left out in the freezing cold with no food and the kittens had been left in the house with no electricity, no heat, and no food or water and that he needed to come to the scene immediately,” McClain said.
Loveless arrived at the home about 30 minutes later, McClain said, adding he asked for permission to enter the home to check if the kittens had access to food and water and Loveless gave his consent.
“The entire house smelled of cat urine and there were spots of cat feces inside the home,” McClain said. “The kittens had a food and water bowl, but the food bowl was dried up and appeared as if nothing new had been put into the bowl for quite some time.”
Following his investigation, McClain obtained a warrant charging Loveless with three counts of animal cruelty and officers later served the warrant on the man.

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