Police charge county man, woman with animal cruelty

Published 5:37 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Carter County man and woman face animal cruelty charges after police attempting to serve an arrest warrant reported finding a dog in poor conditions at their home.
Officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Nathaniel James Gibson, 34, of 1095 Old Bristol Highway, Elizabethton, on a warrant charging him with violation of probation out of Criminal Court. Officers also issued Gibson a criminal summons charging him with animal cruelty.
Officers also issued Krystal Benfield, 31, of 1095 Old Bristol Highway, Elizabethton, a criminal summons charging her with animal cruelty.
According to reports, CCSO Deputies Eric Norman, Jason Mosier, Brian Smithpeters and Nick Free went to 1095 Old Bristol Highway shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesday to serve an arrest warrant on Gibson.
“Upon our arrival we observed a medium-sized dog lying on the ground in snow next to the driveway curled up,” Smithpeters said. “The dog looked very malnourished and was shaking from the cold. There was snow on the ground, and the temperature was approximately 20 degrees.”
Smithpeters said the dog was on a leash that was about four-feet long. The leash was attached to a cinderblock and wrapped around a pole, Smithpeters said.
“The nearest shelter for the dog was approximately 15 feet away,” Smithpeters said. “The shelter was sheet metal with no bottom to it or insulation. There was no food or water outside for the dog.”
Officers then spoke with Gibson and Benfield regarding the animal.
“Mrs. Benfield stated she left the residence at 7:45 a.m. and the dog was lying in the same spot as when we found it,” Smithpeters said, noting the weather report was calling for temperatures to drop to around 16 degrees.
Officers requested for Carter County Animal Control to respond to the home. After Animal Control arrived on scene they took custody of the dog, Smithpeters said.
Gibson and Benfield are scheduled to appear in Cater County General Sessions Court on May 9 on the animal cruelty charges.

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