Eight dogs, mostly Pekingese, were still alive when deputies found them starving to death in a mobile home in Tarboro. They also discovered seven other dead dogs, their bodies already decomposing, inside.
Investigators say complaints of a foul odor lead them to the trailer. Authorities arrested the homeowner, 55-year-old Belinda Haddock, and charged her with seven misdemeanor and seven felony counts of animal cruelty.
The arrest warrants charge Haddock neglected the dogs, causing or permitting unjustifiable pain, suffering and death. Investigators won't say how long ago Haddock abandoned the dogs, or comment on her reason for doing so.
The surviving dogs are at the Edgecombe County animal shelter for now. Officers say they are all in poor condition and none have rabies shots. Workers will continue monitoring the dogs closely to see if they are adoptable. It's too soon to determine if they'll survive.
Haddock made her first appearance in court Wednesday morning. She's out of jail on a $7,000 bond.