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Man sought after dogs found dead in Fayetteville home

Posted February 13, 2015

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— Cumberland County authorities were searching Friday for a Fayetteville man accused of allowing six dogs to starve to death in his home.

Concerned neighbors called Cumberland County Animal Control on Jan. 27, saying Richard Walter had left home weeks earlier to visit his partner at Duke University Medical Center and never returned.

Animal Control officers found six of eight dogs in the Bridgeview Drive home were dead, and necropsies determined they were dehydrated and starved to death. Some tried to survive by chewing wooden furniture or eating the carcasses of animals that had already died, authorities said.

The two surviving dogs, a cocker spaniel and a pit bull mix, were in extremely poor health and are now under the care of Animal Control.

Lt. Elaine Smith of Animal Control said the dogs that died were locked in the house's sunroom, while the other two were able to roam around the rest of the house.

"They had more resources as far as trash and other edible items that they could get to to keep themselves alive, and some water," Smith said.

The cocker spaniel is headed to a rescue center on Saturday to begin the process of finding a new home, she said.

Walter, 51, faces eight counts of felony cruelty to animals. Authorities said they have been able to contact him by phone, so they know he wasn't hurt and unable to care for the dogs, but they said he has been uncooperative.

He is described as white, about 6 feet tall, between 180 and 200 pounds with blue eyes and graying brown hair.

Anyone who knows Walter's whereabouts or had information about the case is asked to call the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office at 910-323-1500.


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  • Namey Names Feb 14, 2015
    user avatar

    What a sicko. I cannot imagine a much crueler thing to do. I really wish we sentenced people to the same thing as the crime they committed. I bet the crime rates would drop. Lock him in a seg cell without food or water for 30 days.. maybe dump a bag of trash in there 1 time to see if he can dig through it to eat......

  • Amy LaFluer Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    This story is an add on. At first it said the man was missing and the dogs have starved. They have added on that the police had gotten in contact with him. Before you didn't know if the man had been hurt or killed therefore not returned due to other reasons.

  • Wayne R. Douglas Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I really hope you are being sarcastic.

  • Chiqi Torres Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    The story clearly indicated that the man was reachable by telephone, and not sick or unable to communicate. There's one very clear and fair way to treat him once he is found. Lock him in a sunroom without food or water for a couple of weeks. If he survives, as six poor, innocent creatures did not, put him in a regular jail for a couple of weeks. Then repeat the process eight times, once for each dog. See how he does.

  • Alexia Proper Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    If he left home to be with his partner in a hospital, it might be that his priorities were on the care of a human. That does outweigh care for dogs and, depending on how serious the illness, might have the man in complete mental anguish and depressed.

    Oh, but nevermind his well being... have to add insult to injury with legal charges.

  • Mark Farmer Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    apparently the picture comes from a past arrest?

    1. I hope he is not dead
    2. I hope he goes to jail

  • Beth Pearce Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Why is this man facing any charges? That's odd.

    (Strawberry Letter 23)

  • Melissa Townsend Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    And no one is concerned that this guy may be dead or injured somewhere?

  • Reggie Berryman Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    This guy will get more jail time than the guy that shot the three students!

  • Edward Anderson Feb 13, 2015
    user avatar

    This story begs the question of "Why did this dog owner go missing?" Could it have been foul play and not cruelty to animals? In an admittedly strange way, I almost hope he disappeared because he's laid up in a hospital somewhere and can't get home, rather than has casually abandoned his dogs.