Local News

Fayetteville Officer Cited for Animal Cruelty

Posted September 17, 2007

— A Fayetteville police officer has been cited for animal cruelty in connection with an allegation that puppies were buried alive on his property over the weekend.

John Leggett, 44, has been placed on administrative duty pending investigations by both the Fayetteville Police Department and Cumberland County Animal Control, authorities said. He has been a patrol officer in Fayetteville since 2002.

Animal control officers were called Saturday afternoon to a gated home hidden in the woods off Jackie Hood Lane, about three miles from the Bladen County line, to respond to a report that puppies had been buried alive.

"My understanding is that was the allegation, and by the time animal control officers arrived on the scene, the person making the allegation had dug up the puppies," said Sara VanderClute, a spokeswoman for Cumberland County.

Two coonhound puppies were found dead at the property. Animal Control Director Sue Nicholson declined to say how the dogs died or whether any animals were found buried.

Another seven 1-week-old coonhound puppies, along with their mother, were seized from the property and placed in the care of animal control.

"We are looking for people in our community who would come forward and be willing to adopt these precious animals," Nicholson said.

Authorities said a relative of Leggett was the person who called animal control. The person told authorities that Leggett breeds and trains championship coonhounds.

Animal control officers issued nine civil citations of animal cruelty against Leggett, each carrying a $100 fine. An investigation is under way to determine whether he should face criminal charges.

Leggett was among several Fayetteville officers to receive a Lifesaving Award in May. The award recognizes bravery in the line of duty.


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  • jeff2 Sep 19, 2007

    Guys, come on. Please comment on things you know something about. Large breed dogs usually lose a couple of puppies at birth or shortly thereafter. The female dog simply pushes the weaker aside to chill (die). Try as you might it is usually impossible to save these, mother knows best. Mr. Leggett being an experienced breeder probably knows this and did the humane thing. Burying them alive or dead the end result is the same, or would you prefer a swift whack over the head to insure they were dead? The healthy puppies were alive and well.
    His little girl needs a spanking, or he needs to teach his little girl about animals and not let the animal rights idiots who have somehow been allowed into our schools to teach her for him. I want my tax dollars spent on paying police officers to do their job, not on trying to put them in jail for being a responsible dog breeder.

  • All child molesters should die Sep 18, 2007

    Poor things!


  • uncfan89 Sep 18, 2007

    illegals--go home, I agree if he is guilty he should be punished, but more info. needs to surface in this case. Black and Tan Coonhounds are wonderful dogs, we have one that belongs to my 8 year old daughter,that she shows, very easy going and sweet dogs. An autopsy would answer a lot of questions, not sure how many local vets are set up to do that but I'm sure the the vet school at state could do one. Hopefully the whole truth will come out soon.

  • Concerned Sep 18, 2007

    As a sworn officer, he clearly should know better. I hope he did not commit this heinous act and if he did, he's worse than Mike Vick, because he's sworn to protect!

  • outyourleague Sep 18, 2007

    Gee, when Michael Vick's story was on this site, most of the comments were racially biased, but from what I can read in these comments, you guys dont really seem to disapprove. How interesting....

  • Esq Sep 18, 2007

    Dogs are better than people!!! Lock him up!!

  • O-Get-A-Grip Sep 18, 2007

    It is terrible whenever ANY human being pulls a stunt like that and it is even WORSE when it is a law enforcement officer being cruel and breaking the law. If he actually did this, how often has he done it in the past? If have that much disregard to a baby animal, what is you attitude towards people??

  • Sweet Tiffyhog Sep 18, 2007

    he kinda looks like Kevin Nash, remember him? He wrestled under a name I think was Diesel or something?

  • Commentor5 Sep 18, 2007

    Gee...WRAL certainly seems to let folks comment on stories that involve cruelty and death to animals - why not let folks comment on stories that involve the deaths of innocent children? Look at these headlines below - it appears that WRAL is more concerned about animals than children. Why can't folks comment on these stories? Is there some hidden agenda?

    Teen Charged in Sampson Infant's Death
    Texas Couple Pleads Guilty to Fatally Starving Son


    Response from WRAL.com:
    Thank you for your comment. I can assure you that the only agenda WRAL has is to create community dialogue that is free from profanity, personal attacks and stereotyping.

    We have found over time that comments on certain types of stories, such as those about innocent people dying and child-abuse cases, often devolve into mean-spritited comments that have little to do with public debate and civil discourse.

    There are plenty of Web sites that allow any and all comments to be posted. We, however, are striving to be different. Our goal is to have a comments section that encourages thoughtful posts and debate of important public issues.

    John Conway Director of Product Development

  • HP Sep 18, 2007

    In reference to Michael Vick, he has been torturing, breeding & training Pits to fight for 7 years. He was supposed to be a role model for our children & the NFL. No sympathy from me.

    And as far as this Leggett guy, no sympathy from me on that one either. If they can prove he buried those dogs alive (like they proved what Michael Vick done + he admitted guilt) than he needs to be kicked off the police force. We don't need that kind of mentality on our police force.

    If you can't treat your animals right, you don't need to have any.