Police find 8 dogs in 'breathtaking,' horrible living conditions - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Police find 8 dogs in 'breathtaking,' horrible living conditions

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James Hugh Wetzel (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) James Hugh Wetzel (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A gruesome discovery behind a house had neighbors calling Horry County Animal Control, and landed one man behind bars.

Police arrested 31-year-old James Hugh Wetzel after neighbors called saying they found a dead dog in his back yard. He is now facing eight counts of animal cruelty.

When police got to the house on South Poplar Drive, the report paints a terrible scene: eight dogs left in horrible conditions.

Puppies were found in a kennel, which the report states was full of feces and without enough food or water. Their mom was barricaded in a room away from the puppies, also without proper food or water.

Another dog was left within the house, which the report writes "the power to the house had been shut off and the house was hot, and the smell was breath taking."

In the same report, another officer noted, "I could also hear multiple dogs inside the residence, and could smell a strong odor of urine and feces coming from inside."

Vets warn that a house can become just as hot as a closed car.

"You wouldn't necessarily think about that, but when they don't have air-conditioning, it's a similar kind of situation. The temperature can rise quickly in any enclosed place," said Dr. Ross Larson, an Associate Veterinarian with the VCA Palmetto Animal Hospital.

Being left in the heat can cause serious health problems for animals.

"Dehydration and over-heating, or heat stroke, can be a big problem and become life-threatening extremely quickly," warned Dr. Larson.

Which is what police believe happened to yet another dog belonging to Wetzel. When they arrived on his property, they found a Chihuahua chained to a dog house without enough food, water, or shade.

Chained with that dog was a bulldog mix, already dead before animal control got there.

The police report says, "There did not appear to be any food or water within reach of the larger dog's chain."

Once police contacted Wetzel, he told them he was currently working in Charleston, but would drive to Surfside Beach to talk to them.According to the report, he turned himself in and was served warrants for ill treatment of animals.

Wetzel is currently out on a $4,000 bond, $500 for each dog left on his property.

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