An Alabama couple were arrested after authorities found four extremely malnourished pit bull dogs outside of their home. Two other dogs were discovered inside the house and deputies say one of the dogs ate the other out of hunger.
The suspects in the case are Quentin Eugene Mathis, 26, and Ashley Nicole Mathis, 26. The Dothan Eagle reports that deputies and officials from the Henry County Department of Human Resources originally went to the couple's home in Headland to check on the couple's 4-year-old child. Lt. James S. Culbreath reported that deputies found nobody at the house, but saw four pit bulls tied to separate trees when they arrived.
"They were just skin and bones,” said Culbreath. “They were chained to a tree with a large, heavy chain. The heavy chains on the dogs restricted them so they could hardly move.”
He added that the dogs did not have food or water, and that they all were extremely emaciated. Two of the dogs reportedly could hardly stand or walk from the lack of nourishment.
Inside the home, an even grislier discovery awaited officials. The Dothan Eagle reports that officers obtained a search warrant after hearing a dog barking inside the house, while DHR officials recalled that on previous occasions, there had been multiple dogs in the home, not just one.
Sheriff's Investigator Keith Cauthen, who was first to enter the home, said the scene was "horrific." The officials discovered the half-eaten remains of one pit bull along with another that was alive, and had apparently eaten the other out of hunger.
“There were dog parts all over the place, and there was one healthy dog in there, which had been consuming the [dead] dog," Cauthen said.
Culbreath noted this is the worst animal cruelty case he has seen in 23 years. "This goes beyond animal cruelty. It’s torture," he said.
An anonymous source told WTVY that Henry County officers had located the couple's child, who was with a relative at the time but has since been removed and is currently in the custody of children's services.