VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Two Virginia Beach residents were arrested over the weekend and charged with animal cruelty. Animal Control officers say their lack of care for their pets caused two dogs to be put down.
“It’s sad,” said Virginia Beach Animal Control Supervisor Meghan Conti. “It really is sad.”
Officers say the investigation started September 7 when a citizen flagged down a sheriff’s deputy working in the area to get help for a sickly dog on Pickering Street. The emaciated brown female boxer appeared to be malnourished.
“Nobody likes to see an animal harmed, just the same as nobody likes to see a child harmed,” Conti added. “They observed one dog that appeared to be emaciated; the bones were showing through.”
The dog was turned over to Animal Control. Just hours later, a maintenance man found another dog barely breathing in the yard next door.
“Ultimately the vet made a decision that dog had to be euthanized due to its condition,” Conti said.
Officers determined the dogs belonged to 22-year-old Justin Jones and 41-year-old Stephine Stallworth.
Animal Control says officers found two other malnourished dogs inside the house. One of them was in such bad shape it had to be put down. Stallworth and Jones were charged with a misdemeanor and felony animal cruelty charge.
The two surviving dogs continue to get stronger every day at Animal Control. Officers say they’ve each put on 20 pounds in the last month.
“The dogs appear to be in good health at this time,” Conti added.
Jones and Stallworth are both out on bond. They have hearings in late October.
“I’ve learned in this job to stop asking the why,” Conti said. “Why people do things, because there is no answer to why. We may not have been able to save two, but we could save two that we may not have known about.”