NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A North Charleston man was convicted Monday of felony ill treatment of an animal after a dog was found starved to death at his home.
Michael Waring, 43, pleaded guilty and Judge Roger Young sentenced him to three years in prison, which will be suspended after he serves one year in prison; after his release, he will be on three years of probation, according to Ninth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Edward Corvey.
North Charleston police responded to Waring's home on Jan. 29 after receiving an anonymous complaint about possible animal cruelty, according to an incident report. Police spoke to Waring by phone and were given permission to inspect the property where the animals were being found, the report states.
Police say they found three "pit bull type" dogs, two females and a male and say the male was dead and lying in a large amount of feces with a strong odor of ammonia. The animals were seized by police and transported to the Charleston Animal Society.
The dead dog, an American Staffordshire Terrior mix, appeared to have died with its head in its food bowl, Charleston Animal Society spokesperson Dan Krosse said.
"The evidence I saw was heartbreaking," CAS Director of Anti-Cruelty and Outreach Aldwin Roman said. "It is clear that this animal used his very last breath to try and stay alive."
The animal society sent the dog's body to the University of Georgia for a necropsy, Krosse said. He said the necropsy found the dog had just 0.3 percent body fat left in its bone marrow, whereas a healthy dog has 59 percent fat in its bone marrow.
Krosse said Waring was also convicted of two misdemeanors and fined for the emaciated puppies.