Man sentenced for starving dogs
GRAHAM, Dec 04, 2012 (Times-News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A man already serving federal time for trafficking cocaine pleaded guilty Monday to starving 14 dogs, killing one of them.
Two dead dogs were found on the 4-acre property Brooks Demond Packingham, 30, was renting, at 1430 Florence Road in Green Level. One was so badly decomposed that veterinarians were unable to determine its cause of death. Packingham wasn't charged in that dog's death.
In all, Packingham pleaded guilty to one count of killing an animal by starvation and 13 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The state dismissed two counts of misdemeanor disposition of dead domesticated animals. Packingham entered an Alford guilty plea, disputing the state's evidence but saying through his attorney, Mark T. Cummings, he wanted to plead guilty to put the case behind him.
On Oct. 5, 2011, Packingham paid a man $10 and a pack of cigarettes to dispose of one of the dogs, dumping its body in a muddy pit filled with water. Four hours later, the sheriff's office got an anonymous call about a group of dogs being mistreated at the property, Alamance County Assistant District Attorney Paul Soderberg said.
Investigators who seized 13 other emaciated pit bulls reported a convergence of 50 to 70 turkey vultures in the area, believed to be feeding on the dead animals in the yard.
The living dogs weighed between 20 and 30 pounds each but should have weighed between 50 and 70 pounds, Soderberg said. Those dogs were taken into custody by the Burlington Animal Shelter where one died several weeks later. Soderberg wasn't certain of their condition or whereabouts now, but a spokesman for the shelter said in February that the dogs weren't likely adoptable.
Investigators learned that Packingham initially was paying a Clint Thompson to take care of the dogs. Sometime during late summer 2011, Thompson told Packingham he'd stopped feeding the dogs, Soderberg said.
"This property was a gathering place for people," Soderberg said. "(Packingham) would have seen the deterioration of the animals."
Cummings said that Michael Compton of Green Level had accepted ownership of the dogs by Oct. 5. Compton and Packingham were co-defendants in a home invasion robbery in May 2011 in Guilford County.
Cummings added that the dogs weren't bred for fighting, weren't vicious and that Packingham loves animals and the dogs' condition "breaks his heart."
Packingham is currently serving at least five years in federal prison after pleading guilty in June to November 2011 charges of trafficking 59.8 grams of cocaine or a cocaine mixture, federal court documents show.
Superior Court Judge R. Allen Baddour Jr. consolidated the 14 charges under the class H felony charge and issued a 10- to 12-month active sentence to run at the expiration of Packingham's federal sentence.
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