A Utica dog owner is facing serious charges in connection with several dogs found abandoned.
Umar Aziz, 22, is currently in Oneida County Jail on unrelated charges.
Here's what Utica Police say happened that lead to charges being filed:
On Tuesday around 2:20 p.m., an Oneida County Animal Control officer responded to a home on Whitesboro Street for several abandoned dogs.
When he arrived, he found that a door was open and he requested a police officer respond, according to investigators.
When officers arrived, they found several dead dogs and puppies and several extremely emaciated dogs and puppies. All of the dogs were either pit bulls or pit bull mix.
It appeared as though the apartment and animals were abandoned, according to police. The dogs had been consuming leather shoes as a means to survive.
The Animal Control officer had responded to the same address recently for the report of malnourished dogs, according to police. A man at the residence came forward with two healthy dogs.
The officer issued him a summons for the dogs being unlicensed. There were no signs of other dogs at the time.
The living dogs were taken to Burrstone Animal hospital and one died, according to police. The others are very sick and are being treated.
On Wednesday, Sgt. Steve Hauck of the Utica Police Department told CBS 5 anchor Michael Benny that this was the worst case of animal cruelty he's seen in 17 years.
There were a total of eight dogs: three were dead at the home and one died at the hospital.
Two adult dogs are sick and being treated. Two puppies are also being treated. Their prognosis for survival is unknown.
The following is a description of the conditions of the dogs from Utica Police:
Puppy 1- (Tan which was found on the bed) Emaciated with a temp below normal and hypothermic, covered in fleas. Hungry and ate food quicker than it could be provided.
Puppy 2- (Tan with black which was found on floor next to heater) Underweight with a bloaded belly, temp below normal and hypothermic, covered in fleas. Hungry but not very energenic.
Puppy 3- (Tan which was located on top of the deceased puppy) Severely emaciated, temp didn't even register (below 90 degrees), hypothermic and very lethargic. Covered in fleas. Same couldn't hold it's head up. Likely to die due to same.
Adult male white with tan - Estimated at 2 years in age, underweight with fleas. Good disposition.
Adult female tan - Estimated at 2 years in age. Aggressive and not able to handle for thorough exam. Noted as emaciated and covered in fleas.
Deceased puppy 1 - (tan which was located on the floor with the live puppy on top of it) Covered in fleas, emaciated, with a full belly and intestine of undigestable leather chunks, approximately 7 weeks in age. Same was impacted due to the leather.
Deceased puppy 2 - (tan which was found in the container) Covered in fleas, underweight, approximately 7 weeks in age. Full belly of undigestible leather chunks. Same was impacted due to the leather.
Deceased adult tan female - Extreme emaciation, covered in fleas, likely been dead for a while. Belly and intestines were full with undigestable leather chunks as well as dog food. Same was impacted and unable to absorb any nutrition due to same.
Aziz is facing multiple charges, including:
- 3 counts of Harboring an unlicensed dog
- 3 counts of Harboring an unvaccinated dog
- 8 counts of Keeping dogs in unsanitary conditions
- 8 counts of Animal Cruelty