A Dacula man has been charged with animal cruelty after officers found a badly neglected dog at his residence while serving multiple arrest warrants.
Police were called to a Gregory Lane residence on Sept. 28 after a woman reported her garbage can had been stolen. One of the victim’s neighbors witnessed the theft of the victim’s trash can and identified the suspect as Barton H. Smith, 43, 152 Gregory Lane, Dacula. According to the witness, Smith also stole a second trash can from another neighbor.
The responding officer went to Smith’s home and found the stolen trash cans in the back of Smith’s pickup truck. The officer knocked on the door and a man matching Smith’s description opened the door before immediately slamming it shut again. The officer unsuccessfully attempted to get the man to return to the door. Before leaving the scene, the officer photographed the garbage cans in the back of Smith’s truck and then returned the cans to their rightful owners. The officer secured two warrants for theft by taking against Smith.
On Oct. 8, officers returned to Smith’s house to serve the warrants. When the officers arrived, they encountered Smith’s father leaving the residence. The father advised that Smith was “inside and drunk.”
One of the officers had responded to the residence before and remembered that Barton Smith had a large bloodhound. The officer asked Smith’s father to secure the bloodhound before they attempted to serve the warrant. The father went inside and returned with an emaciated and lethargic dog. According to the officer’s report, the dog “was so emaciated that I could see every rib and hip bone through the dog’s skin. The dog was very lethargic and his eyes were sunken in. His tail was tucked and the rear of the dog was turning white and dry.”
Barton Smith was taken into custody without incident and animal control was called out to examine the dog. The animal control officer determined the dog had been “willfully neglected, starved and dehydrated.” The dog was taken to a veterinarian for medical care and the officer subsequently obtained a warrant for animal cruelty against Smith.
Smith remains jailed at the Gwinnett County Detention Center. Bond has been set at $8,300.