Young girl, 11 dogs taken from squalid home as cops respond to fight between neighbors
By RYAN GORMAN
A dispute between neighbors ended last week when police took nearly a dozen dogs – one blind – and an 11-year-old girl from her criminal parents' squalid home, authorities said.
Paul and Melanie Howard, both 44, both face multiple charges related to the seizure of 11 dogs and their young child after police discovered their feces and urine filled-South Carolina home's condition when called over claims the Howards were stealing electricity, law enforcement told AOL News.
Paul Howard engaged the unnamed neighbor in a shouting match over the alleged theft, according to WIS, a local television station.
Responding sheriff's deputies went inside the squalid Columbia home last Wednesday and made the disturbing discovery.
Dogs covered in their own filth, furniture and floors covered in feces and belongings were piled throughout the home, pictures provided by police show.
All of the animals are suffering from multiple health problems. One of them was in such poor condition it lost one eye, went blind in the other and had a limb amputated, a Richland County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said.
The young girl was not in poor health, cops said, but she was put in state custody. The animals are currently being cared for in a local animal shelter.
This was not the first time police were called to the home.
Records revealed that Paul Howard has multiple convictions including possession of a controlled substance, passing fraudulent checks and driving on a suspended license. Melanie Howard was previously implicated in a hit-and-run accident.
Mother and father each face two felony counts of animal cruelty, and single counts each of child neglect and theft of electric current.
They are currently in Richland County Jail awaiting their next court date.