‘It smelled like death:’ 4 dogs found dead in ‘filthy’ North Carolina home

Four dogs found dead inside North Carolina home (WTVD)

CLAYTON, N.C. — When police in Clayton, North Carolina arrived at the home, it was already too late to save the dogs.

“The house was filthy,” Clayton Police Chief Blair Myhand told WTVD. “There were bugs and maggots … It was a pretty foul, disgusting scene.”

Officers found four dogs at the home in the 200 block of E. Stallings Street. They were locked inside cages with no food or water and owners who had abandoned the house left the animals to die.

“Three of these dogs were deceased. One dog’s body was badly decomposed. One dog was barely clinging to life,” Myhand said.

The lone dog still breathing had to be euthanized not long after.

Neighbor Dylan Zelenka who called 911 last Thursday to alert police to the suspicious smell on Stalling Street.

“I said it smells like death over there. You need to get somebody over here,” Zelenka said.

Five days after the disturbing discovery, Clayton Police along with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office arrested 53-year old Willis Hodges.

Police said Hodges inherited the home from his mother and lived there with a woman, her adult son, and their four dogs.

But, when they all moved out, at least a month ago, they allegedly left the dogs to fend for themselves.

Hodges was taken to the Johnston County jail and is facing felony animal cruelty charges.

The Clayton Police investigation is ongoing – the chief saying more charges and additional arrests could come.