1 dog dead, another loses leg

One of the beagles rescued from a dog trainer in Maiden was put to sleep because it was too ill to survive its injuries.

Catawba County Animal Services manager Jay Blatche said Wednesday that a veterinarian euthanized one of the three beagles rushed to a clinic after the animals were found alive among 100 dead dogs in a dog kennel and training facility on H.E. Propst Road.

"It was very ill," Blatche said of the euthanized animal. "The vets couldn't really determine what was wrong."

Animal control officers reported finding 100 dog carcasses on Billy Hewitt's property March 15 after animal services received a call reporting dead dogs in Hewitt's yard.

About 20 beagles were rescued from the property, and three were rushed to a veterinarian for emergency care.

"These dogs should have been seen by a veterinarian long before now," Blatche said.

Another animal taken to an area veterinarian will have one of its hind legs amputated because of multiple, severe bite marks. It's unknown what caused the bite marks, whether it was attacks from another animal or an attempt from beagles in the cage to find food. The beagle also faces amputation of another leg, depending on how its health improves.
The third dog that received medical treatment is improving and expected to recover.

"He's bouncing back," Blatche said.

The dog received fluids and is now able to eat better.

Once the two remaining animals have recovered completely, they can be cleared for adoption at the Catawba County Animal Shelter.

"That's our plan," Blatche said. "We want to adopt them out to good, loving homes."

Hewitt, 68, told The O-N-E last week that his dog training operation got out of control when he was in and out of the hospital for three months. Hewitt said he paid someone $60 a week to care for the animals, some of which belonged to people who paid Hewitt to train.

The worker, according to Hewitt, didn't fulfill his obligations. Hewitt admitted there were dead dogs on the property, but he denied there were more than about 10 dead beagles.

Hewitt maintained his innocence and said he never intended to hurt or injure the beagles.

"I could give you a list of over 100 people to tell you I wouldn't harm a dog," he previously told The O-N-E.

Catawba County Animal Control officers compiled a report about the incident on Hewitt's property and submitted the case file to the District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors will review the report and determine if charges against Hewitt are warranted.

Blatche didn't know how long that process will take.