ANDERSON CO. (WVLT) -- A photograph circulating on social media showed an image of a dog that hanged itself after it was tied to a tree outside an Andersonville home, according to a WVLT News viewer. Her complaint prompted a WVLT News investigation.
A woman listed on an Anderson County Sheriff's Office report said she found a dog on the property that appeared to have a broken shoulder. She told deputies she, "Observed another dog to be hanging by a chain that was wrapped around a small tree. The dog was deceased and appeared it had been so for several days."
Officials with Anderson County Animal Control told WVLT News the dog's death was the result of an accident.
However, the incident report from the Anderson County Sheriff's Office outlined troubling details about the case. It named Justin Cody Moore as the owner.
In the report, a responding deputy said, "I observed the puppy to be locked in the small crate and appeared to have conjunctivitis. It appeared to be malnourished and was covered in urine and feces. The inside of the kennel was covered in urine and fecal matter. A small kitten was also observed on the porch, it appeared to be malnourished as well. "
Anderson County Animal Control Officer Charles Porter said Moore moved away from the home and left behind the dog that eventually died, along with two other small dogs and a cat.
Officer Porter said the dog died while Moore was in the process of moving between the old home and his new home. When Moore returned to gather personal items, Officer Porter said he found animal control officials investigating the dog's death. Officer Porter said Moore then gave one remaining dog to a neighbor and surrendered the other remaining dog and a cat to authorities.
After speaking with authorities, Officer Porter said Moore then buried the dog that died.
Officer Porter told WVLT News that he determined the dog's death was an accident and he would not pursue animal cruelty charges.
He said in order for the case to be qualified as animal cruelty, the owner would have had to knowingly and intentionally caused the animal harm, which Officer Porter said did not happen.