Update on animal cruelty case involving dog that was starved and dehydrated to death

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CHATTTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Wednesday’s arrest of a Chattanooga man accused of starving and dehydrating a tethered dog is shedding light on a growing problem that all animal experts say could be avoided.

It was at a Chattanooga home on Akins Drive where according to McKamey Animal Control officers, an EPB employee spotted a deceased dog named Moonshine tethered to a tree. The tether was a chain with padlocks. Moonshines’s body was severely emaciated.

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Moonshine’s owner, Lebron Thrasher, 29, of Chattanooga was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.

McKamey Animal Center Executive Director Jamie McAloon told News 12 Thrasher’s case is an example of a growing problem in Chattanooga.

“We have found many instances when an animal has starved to death in the backyard, side yard and front yard on a chain within view of the house. Simply because people were to lazy to go out and feed that animal,” McAloon said.

Although Thrasher reportedly an officer the dog died from a lightning strike, a necropsy report revealed the dog actually died from extreme starvation and dehydration; which meant it suffered for long periods of time before passing away.

Dr. Randy Hammon of Northgate Animal Hospital told News 12 this should be a wake up call to all pet owners, especially as outside temperatures continue to climb.

“Depending on the condition of the pet and it’s body condition, especially as temperatures are heating up right now, a pet is not going to last very long without proper food and hydration. Having a pet is actually a privilege, it’s not a right, so if we choose to have a pet in our lives, then we owe to them to make sure they have food and water on a a daily basis,” Hammon said.

News 12 attempted to talk to Thrasher and anyone at the home to find out why the tethered animal was not given food and water but no one would come to the door; Instead someone quickly opened the window curtain and closed it. News 12 also spoke to several neighbors who confirmed seeing a dog tethered to a tree.

According to dispatch records, animal control officers had been called to Thrashers home on more than one occasion before his dog was found dead

Meanwhile McKamey officials believe the dog’s death could have been prevented.

“In Chattanooga, there’s no reason for an animal to starve because there is a food bank here at McKamey for people who need assistance,” McAloon said.

Thrasher is due in court May 10th.