Maiden man faces animal cruelty charges

A Maiden man is facing five misdemeanor animal cruelty charges after officials found 100 dog carcasses on his property in March.

A criminal summons was issued June 22 from the District Attorney's Office for Billy Roy Hewitt, 68, of 4160 H.E. Propst Road, which stated that Hewitt "unlawfully and willfully did intentionally torment and deprive of necessary sustenance an animal." The summons said the cruelty charges reflect the health of three male dogs and two female dogs.

Animal control officers reported finding 100 dog carcasses on 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.

One of the rescued animals 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.

At least one beagle was euthanized and others have been adopted since the March recovery.

Hewitt previously told The O-N-E 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.

Hewitt's court date is set for July 15 in Catawba County.