Eric Curtis faces seven counts of animal cruelty for leaving eight dogs, including at least four puppies, in a St. Albans apartment. The dogs were discovered July 13 locked inside the Main Street building after a neighbor complained about barking.
"He certainly wasn't raising dogs to sell that I know of," Franklin County Prosecutor Jim Hughes said. "There's no indication of anything but having too many dogs and then deciding not to take care of them."
Court records show that Curtis also told a neighbor to take two of the animals as pets. When she entered the apartment, police say she found the dogs in poor living conditions. So, she called the Franklin County Humane Society. The woman kept two. The Humane Society has four. Two may be missing-- taken by someone else.
"Once we can get past the 'I need food, I need food, I need food,' that will be a milestone for them when they know they don't have to eat rocks or grass," said Rusty Posner of the Franklin County Humane Society.
All of the dogs were severely malnourished, two of the puppies about 25 pounds underweight.
"They have basically now five days of very small little food amounts and you can just see every day the difference, and we're weighing them every day," Posner said.
The state now plans to file a motion to forfeit the dogs, taking ownership away from Curtis. He's now being evicted from the apartment and plans to relocate to New York.
"I believe that the landlord may have taken over the property now because he feels it's been abandoned by Mr. Curtis," Hughes said.
Curtis denied the charges in court and declined our requests for an interview.
The Humane Society is now asking anyone with information on the two additional dogs that may have taken from the apartment to contact them immediately.
"I'm just very glad that we have these dogs here now," Posner said. "I just wish that we could find the other two."
If convicted, Curtis faces up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000.
The two puppies and two adult dogs at the Franklin Humane Society will be up for adoption as soon as they are in good health.