VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Police filed charges against the owner of a dog found starved and neglected in a Navy sailor’s backyard earlier this month.
Cornelius Rashad Wheaton, 25, of the 5700 block of Brandon Blvd., was charged with four counts of inadequate care, and one count of failure to pay tax when due (no city license). All of these are class 4 misdemeanors.
Last Tuesday, a judge awarded animal control ownership of the boxer, estimated to be 1-year-old. Its owner has 10 days to appeal the decision, but according to a search warrant, the owner’s estranged wife told investigators he was deployed.
On September 27, officers responded to the Brandon Boulevard home because of a complaint about a barking dog, according to Virginia Beach Animal Control spokeswoman Meghan Conti.
The responding officer posted a notice, according to a search warrant, but two days later when an officer followed up, it was still intact on the front door, and the dog’s ribs were visible even from beyond the fence line.
A Virginia Beach police officer executed a search warrant October 1 and seized the dog.
“We have a strong compassion toward the animals that we take into our custody, and we wouldn’t remove a dog and seize a dog that we feel was being cared for,” Conti said. “When the dog came in, he was considerably emaciated.”
After two weeks under a veterinarian’s supervision and care, the dog is ten pounds heavier and not lacking in personality.
“Oh, he is cute as a button. He has that very typical boxer behavior of the butt and the head wiggling constantly,” Conti said. “He’s very happy, very energetic, so I don’t think we’ll have a problem placing him into a loving home.”
The Navy was not been able to confirm whether or not the dog’s owner was on deployment.
A nonprofit organization that helps servicemen and women board their pets during deployment operates in Hampton Roads. For more information, visit the Dogs on Deployment website.