DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Three dogs -- Cleo, Athena and Ulysses -- were rescued by Davidson County Animal Control last Thursday.
Deputies say it was a neighbor who tipped police off about the conditions of the dogs.
A family of four, Terry Ray Potts Sr., Crystal Potts, Christopher Potts and Terry Ray Potts Jr., appeared in court on Monday. They are charged with animal cruelty, animal abandonment and felony kill animal by starvation.
For Cleo and Athena, a few days of treatment at Ruff Love Rescue should bring them up to full health, according to volunteer Stacy Draper.
Draper said Ulysses' condition has him fighting for his life.
"Hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms and he's about 45 to 50 pounds underweight," Draper said.
Draper said Cleo and Athena probably lived outside.
"Tossed some food maybe from neighbors," Draper said.
Neighbors said Ulysses lived inside, which is where deputies also found two dead animals.
One of the animals Chuck Milam knows extremely well -- an eight-foot boa constrictor.
"Actually, it used to be mine," Milam said.
Milam lives directly behind the Potts' home and sold the snake to the Potts family years ago.
Other neighbors say the second animal might be a feeder rat for the snake.
Milam said the Potts family moved to Clemmons a few weeks ago and left behind their animals only to check on them every few days.
He said the front door was always closed, but not on Thursday. Investigators said, thankfully, someone did open the door and made a phone call to alert animal control.
"All you have to do is speak up and somebody will give them some help," Draper said.