Dead dogs found dumped along rural roadside

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ELM CITY — Intuition led a Wilson County woman to make a disturbing discovery Friday morning.

Shannah Brantley said she drives on Webb Road near Elm City several times a day and had seen black garbage bags on the side of the road for several days, but on Friday morning, something told her to stop and check the bags.

“I happened to be coming back toward (N.C.) 42 this morning and where it’d been raining, the bags formed around what was inside and something told me to stop,” she said. “I noticed the end of one of the bags was ripped and I could tell it was a dog, not a deer or anything like that.”

One of the other bags had a tear in it as well to reveal another dead dog. Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Wanda Samuel said staff responded at 2:30 p.m. and found three dogs in three bags.

“They were so decomposed that we can’t even determine the cause of death,” Samuel said.

She said the dogs appear to be adult, but the breed is unknown. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 252-237-2118.

“It is heartbreaking. I’ve traveled that way and seen the bag for a few days, but now I wish I’d stopped earlier in case there was something more I could have done,” Brantley said. “I don’t know if they were still alive when they were thrown out or whether they could have been saved. It is just horrible. No animal deserves that.”

In addition to notifying authorities about the discovery, Brantley posted photographs of the bags on Facebook. She said she frequently sees trash bags along that stretch, but cannot imagine what led someone to discard animals in that manner.

“If you don’t want your animal, find someone who does,” she said. “They are not trash.”

Wilson County Humane Society President Kim Edmundson said it is not the first discarded dog she’s been alerted to and hopes it is not indicative of a larger issue.

“First of all, I just want to know why,” Edmundson said. “Even if you have a dog die on your property, you can bury it, so why are you putting it in a trash bag and throwing it by the side of the road?”

The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation, but Edmundson said resources are available if an owner becomes unable to care for an animal.

“A lot of people in this county think of the animal shelter as a bad place, but it is not the worst place,” she said. “The animal shelter not only provides food and shelter, but an opportunity to be adopted by people who want a pet. And if an animal does lose its life, it is done more humanely.”

If a suspect is identified, Samuel said he or she could face three counts of animal cruelty.

“This is senseless,” she said.