• Police say 20 dog carcasses found at couple's former home

    By: Kathryn Burcham

    Updated:

    ALBEMARLE, N.C. - Albemarle Police are investigating a couple after they said at least 20 dog carcasses were discovered at their former home.

    Police said the couple's landlord discovered horrific conditions inside the vacant house on Oakwood Avenue last month.

    "It was horrific for animals, those conditions I walked into. Very depressing," said Albemarle Police Detective Cindy Rinehart.

    According to a search warrant, officers found bones and decomposed remains in the backyard and in the basement, some of which they believed to be puppy carcasses.

    Officers removed three bags of bones, four carcasses and six various animal bones found throughout the backyard, according to the warrant.

    "Some located in crates, some in kennels, some appeared to be tied to trees. It was obvious there was a lot of filth in the backyard and they probably weren't treated very well," Rinehart said.

    Investigators said they sent the remains to a forensic veterinarian pathologist for analysis on how and when the dogs died, and if they were abused or neglected.

    "We've got several steps to make a case before we make an arrest," Rinehart said.

    Neighbors told Channel 9 that Joel Fesperman and his wife Christy Parnell ran makeshift dog shelter they called Second Chance Rescue, which Doreen Aldridge said she complained about to Stanly County Animal Control for years.

    "I couldn't even sleep at night, dogs crying and whining. It was awful," Aldridge said.

    Other neighbors said they noticed the bones long before authorities.

    "When you walked in, it just stunk...we are all disgusted with it, it's a terrible thing," said Rusty Sandfir.

    Channel 9 went to the Fespermans' new home in Richfield Wednesday, where Joel Fesperman denied any involvement in the dogs' deaths.

    "It's been a year and a half since I lived in that house. I don't know what's happened or anything like that since then," Fesperman said.

    Fesperman confirmed he and his wife were running a dog shelter but maintained they always found loving homes for the dogs and that any complaints to Animal Control were found to be unsubstantiated.

    "I'm an animal lover, animals to us is like children. They really can't fend for themselves especially if they're in a cage. I would have taken them to Animal Control myself before I let them die in a cage," Fesperman said.

    Police said it could take weeks before the results from the pathologist are ready.


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