Animals starved, charges filed

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 8, 2013 at 6:04 AM

Animal cruelty charges were filed Monday against a Johnson City man who allegedly starved three burros to death and neglected a horse to the point that it had to be euthanized.

James Carmichael, 714 Crowell Lane, was charged with four counts of cruelty to animals. Johnson City/Washington County Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas said three other large animals on Carmichael’s property would be removed.

“He’s going to turn himself in tomorrow and I’m going to give him the opportunity to sign a release to allow them to be moved. ... If not, we’re going to take then anyway,” Thomas said Monday night.

The dead burros, two adults and a 6-month-old colt, and an emaciated mare were found in a small field behind Carmichael’s home about 8 a.m. Saturday after neighbors at a nearby apartment complex called police and reported a horse was down on the property. Thomas and veterinarian Dr. Alex Dulaney spent several hours attempting to revive the mare before finally euthanizing her early Saturday evening.

Thomas said the mother burro and her colt appeared to have been dead for about a week and the third burro appeared to have been dead for about two weeks.

“He (Carmichael) told me he believed the baby and its mother were stomped to death by the other horses. But I don’t believe that’s how it happened,” Thomas said.

“There was no hay on the property and nothing on the field to nibble on. There was about 30 or 40 pounds of sweet feed in a blue barrel, but not nearly enough for six large animals like that. ... Even the trees they could get to had the bark chewed off of them.”

Thomas said when he retuned to the property on Sunday, Carmichael had buried the three dead animals and placed a round bale of hay in the field. “That was a day late and a dollar short,” he said. “If he could do that, he could have done it before they died.”

Animal Control Director Debbie Dobbs said two other horses and a burro on Carmichael’s property were in better condition. “They looked much better than the others,” she said. “We’ll be back out there ... to get the others.”

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