Local News

Man convicted of animal cruelty in Apex under investigation again

Posted August 16, 2012

— An Apex man convicted of animal cruelty in 2007 is under investigation again, this time for complaints about animals on a rural Chatham County farm, where he now lives.

David Watts received three years’ probation, paid $2,200 in restitution and was banned from owning animals until 2010 after authorities seized 77 sheep from his home in downtown Apex in 2007. Thirty of the animals were so ill that they had to be euthanized.

In the meantime, Watts moved to a rural Chatham County farm. Officials there said they recently received a complaint about decomposing carcasses fouling a stream. State and local officials and veterinarians responded and said they found an unspecified number of carcasses and one cow so sick it had to be euthanized on the spot.

When a WRAL News reporter and photographer went to the farm on Thursday, they saw about 150 sheep and cows in the weed-filled front pasture. Some were limping, others were coughing, and many were so thin their ribs and hips were visible from a distance. Some were trying to eat from what appeared to be a large mound of rotting hay.

Watts declined to speak with WRAL News on Thursday but told investigators the dead cattle were sick when he bought them a few days ago, authorities said.

Chatham County Public Health Director Holly Coleman says she is aware of Watts's record. But she says this is the first complaint lodged against him in Chatham County. She says state and county officials are continuing to investigate it.

Man convicted of animal cruelty under investigation again Man convicted of animal cruelty under investigation again

"We have seen nothing so far that would indicate animal cruelty,” she said, adding that animal control officials were advising Watts on the proper care for the animals. He will also be required to bring in a veterinarian for them, she said.


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  • SisterChristian Aug 17, 2012

    Many of us (neighbors) witnessed what went on in Apex, we are disgusted and fed up he is allowed to even own an animal. He should not even be allowed to own a Goldfish. North Carolina....what's up with your animal cruelty laws? Why do you allow this?

  • AX MAN Aug 17, 2012

    Maybe after he kills a few hundred animals the legal system will do something. We would't want to step on his rights. He sounds like a fine citizen.

  • Mollers Aug 17, 2012

    According to the Chatham County website:

    PHONE: 919-542-8200; FAX: 919-542-8272

    EMAIL CONTACT: elizabeth.plata@chathamnc.org

    COUNTY MANAGER: Charlie Horne

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 17, 2012

    We all choose to either increase or reduce animal cruelty in this world every time we sit down at the table to eat.

    I think news stories like this help people realize that they, themselves, have some control over the pain, suffering and death of animals.

  • danunger Aug 17, 2012

    And how many more chances does he get to do this all over again? Probation and fines are a joke, and do not have any corrective value....drop the hammer and uphold laws, get tough and take these people out of society.

  • magee43 Aug 17, 2012

    I hope Holly Coleman can see the abuse. If not she doesn't need to hold the office.

  • twatkinsntp Aug 17, 2012

    I am sure he moved to Chatham County becaus the animal control officers there are less than vigilant......Call the county manager and complain and make them do something.....if enough people call they will have no choice. Saying that they saw no evidence of animal cruelty just goes to show what we are up against. Just because someone doesn't beat an animal doesn't mean they aren't being treaty cruely.

  • kimnc Aug 17, 2012

    I lived next door to Dave Watts in Apex. I witnessed countless cases of animal abuse and cruelty to dogs, cats and sheep. The city council and animal control would do nothing. It was so bad I had to sell my house and move.

    He is a very lazy man that sleeps all day. He should never be allowed to have animals again.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Aug 17, 2012

    "He deserves the death penalty for this. Absolutely disgusting."

    I'm absolutely disgusted a person would form an instant opinion from looking at a 60 second WRAL news video and cast a death penalty judgement on a person for having too many animals.

    Your attitude would be better suited in a country like Russia.

  • US Born Aug 17, 2012

    "We have seen nothing so far that would indicate animal cruelty,” she said....and she's aware of his record(Chatham County Public Health Director Holly Coleman)

    Really?? weed-filled front pasture..Some were limping, others were coughing..many were so thin their ribs and hips were visible from a distance.. large mound of rotting hay..they found an unspecified number of carcasses and one cow so sick it had to be euthanized on the spot.

    Well alright Ms. Coleman....no sign of animal cruelty here! It's very sad these animals have to live under these conditions with this owner.