Umar Aziz, 22, is facing 22 charges including 8 counts of animal cruelty. Right now, he is being held in Oneida County Jail on unrelated charges.
James Spann lives nearby and used to see Aziz walking his dogs. "Automatically you're thinking, wow that guy was like that? Dogs have life, and if you have animals, take care of them," said Spann.
Utica Police say they found 8 dogs abandoned inside Aziz's Whitesboro Street home on Tuesday afternoon. One adult dog and two 7-week-old puppies were found dead, another puppy died shortly after. Two other adult dogs and 2 puppies survived, but were severely malnourished and are clinging to life.
"It's really sad, I've seen the dogs outside in the backyard and they did look really bad," said William Fikes who lives next door to the home.
Police say the 8 dogs were in deplorable conditions, many were suffering from hypothermia and were covered in fleas. Police say the dogs were eating leather shoes to try to survive.Sgt. Steve Hauck of the Utica Police Department says this is the worst case of animal cruelty he's seen in 17 years. "I can't remember any one this bad," said Hauck.
Two adult dogs are sick and being treated. Two puppies are also being treated. Right now, officials don't know if they will survive.
Click here to read our previous coverage and a description of the dogs conditions from Utica Police.