Animal control, police investigate possible dog starvation in Johnson City

Becky Campbell • Updated Jun 2, 2017 at 7:56 PM

When 12-week-old Luna, a black and tan German shepherd mix puppy, was adopted from the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter two years ago, no one imagined her fate would be to die alone, thirsty and hungry.

But animal shelter officials believe that’s what happened to the dog, and officials said she could have been dead for months.

Animal Shelter Co-Director Tammy Davis said she is certain the dog found inside a Northridge area condo is that same puppy, who went to live what should have been a long life.

“From what we can tell from the remains, it is the same dog,” Davis said. “When the dog was adopted, her name was Sugar. Most people change the animal’s name.”

Animal control officials were alerted about the dog carcass — decayed to the point the remains were dried up — by a landlord at the condos on Thursday. They immediately began an investigation that led to Johnson City police responding to the scene on Friday.

The case was turned over to JCPD and will continue to be investigated.

The woman who adopted Luna and rented the condo is nowhere to be found, officials said. Her name is not being released because at this point, no charges have been filed.

After an outcry on Facebook about the finding, the woman’s social media profile disappeared. The post about the dog’s fate was shared more than 5,000 times as of Friday afternoon.

While the woman’s profile was taken down, word about Luna’s fate continued to spread. 

Animal Control Officer Lee Lawson said the condo had trash strewn everywhere and was filthy. The landlord had been cleaning up the residence earlier in the week, but didn’t find the dog’s remains in an upstairs room until Thursday.

Lawson said there were no food bowls, no evidence of any food and no water bowl, and the toilet lid was down, keeping the dog from any source of water.

Davis said the remains were collected and she hopes a forensic pathologist can examine them to determine when the dog died. She’s also willing to listen to what the owner has to say about what happened.

“We want to give her a chance to tell her side of the story,” she said.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos