LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) - Police have arrested a Lakeland man after officers say they found his dogs so malnourished that they were eating one another.
Lakeland police say Genar Smith, 54, was in possession of five pit-bulls that were "deprived of sustenance" after officers responded to an animal complaint at his home on 12th Street West.
[Disclaimer: The details from the arrest report might be considered disturbing to some readers.]
The officer who responded to Smith's home says he found two dogs chained to the ground, three in a medium-sized cage, and one in a large cage. One of the dogs in the medium cage was dead, the officer said, with most of its neck and skull eaten by the other two dogs.
The dogs were "considerably malnourished" with their rib cages and hip bones clearly visible due to starvation. One of the dogs found alive in the medium cage also had part of its tail bitten off.
The officer also observed no food or water in any of the bowls. There was no overhead cover to protect the animals from the elements, the officer noted.
Smith told officers he would feed the dogs a mixture of dog food, rice and beans, and ensure they had water every day. He admitted he had never taken the dogs to a veterinarian.
When asked about the deceased dog found in the medium cage, Smith allegedly told officers that he thought the dog died of Parvo the night prior. Animal control officers on-scene told police they believed the dog was eaten by the other two pit-bulls due to starvation.
"All of the dogs that the officers saw appeared to be starving. Animal control showed up and also confirmed that as well," said Lakeland Police Spokesperson Gary Gross.
Smith is charged with Felony Cruelty to an Animal.
"This is one of the worst in a long time that we’ve had. Anybody hates to see a dog that is starved but then you have two dogs feeding off another it’s shocking," said Gross.
Mr. Smith signed away ownership of the three male dogs but declined to sign away the two female dogs. All five dogs were transported to Animal Control. Parvo tests were done on all five dogs and all five were negative for Parvo.