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Dog Owner Accepts Plea Bargain In Cruelty Case

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MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — After months of legal delays, an animal cruelty case in Moore County has finally reached an end, but it is no consolation to animal advocates who were disgusted by the details of the crime.

Last spring, a neighborhood guard at a Pinehurst gated community heard puppies whimpering in a Dumpster and rescued them. Police officers said Chris Davis stuffed nine newborn puppies into a garbage bag and heaved the bag into the Dumpster.

"They hadn't been cleaned by their mother. Their umbilical chords were still fresh," pet store owner Sylvia Riddle said.

Davis was later charged with a felony. Some of the dogs were eventually adopted.

"They're just having fun right now -- two sisters," owner Tom Trayer said of his adopted dogs, Cocoa and Mocha. "They're wonderful dogs."

Police treated the case as a crime and used modern, crime-solving techniques. They took DNA from the puppies and matched it to the DNA of Davis' dog, proving his dog was the puppies' mother. They said that linked Davis to the crime.

"These puppies were totally innocent. For $100, he could have put pictures of the puppies in the newspaper and they would have been scooped up in a minute," animal advocate Maureen Burke-Horansky said.

Animal advocates came to the courthouse only to see Davis plea bargain. The court found him guilty of just two misdemeanors. He apologized through his attorney.

Animal advocates say the outcome is especially cruel. They say the puppies were taken from their mother too soon, could no longer nurse and became prone to disease. Cocoa and Mocha survived, but in the end, four of the nine puppies did not.

The court fined Davis $500 and ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service, preferably at the local animal shelter. He was also ordered to write a letter of apology to Animal Advocates of Moore County. On top of that, he has to pay $2,200 to the people who cared for the puppies after they were rescued.


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