ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (WKRN) – An Ashland City man was taken into custody on two counts of felony animal abuse after his two dogs were found dead outside his home.
According to police, the dogs died of starvation and had been dead for several days when they were discovered.
The owner, Japeth Ligon, claimed he loved the dogs and he stopped feeding them when they got sick.
He was arrested Thursday evening.
Body cam shows an Ashland City police officer meeting with the 38-year-old man.
The officer told Ligon that he was under arrest and charged with two counts of felony aggravated animal abuse.
“Apparently the autopsies came back and they died of starvation,” the cop is heard saying.
Ligon disagrees, saying, “No, they quit eating. They were sick and quit eating.”
The dogs, two pit bulls, were discovered dead outside Ligon’s home on Oct. 6.
“You could tell they had been dead three or four days,” Assistant Police Chief Kenny Ray said. “They had no food or water.”
Police ordered a necropsy that revealed the two dogs died of starvation.
“It showed they had dirt in their stomachs,” Ray said. “To me it means they were foraging for food and just getting into the ground as much as they could to get something to eat.”
On the body cam video, Ligon is upset and says that he loved the dogs.
“They had heartworms – I couldn’t take them to the vet,” he explained. “They quit eating. I fed them until they quit eating.”
Ray told News 2 the dogs did suffer from heartworms, but that was probably because they were starving.
“My neighbor, when I left, he fed them for me when I was out of town,” Ligon said. “He seen me feeding them. Everybody said I loved them dogs. I sued to walk them up and down the street. Those were my boys. I love them f****** dogs, man. They have their own page on my Facebook.”
Lucas Reeves lives next door to Ligon. He admitted that he had fed the dogs before.
“Normally they bark a lot. All the time and we noticed the last week they are not barking. She walked over there and came back crying and she said, ‘Lucas, they are dead. They are both tied up, skin and bones. No bruises, not beaten.’ It’s obvious they were starved to death,” he said.
Ligon has since been released on a $2,000 bond. He is due in court Nov. 9.