Edward Johnson Jr. let 1 of his dogs starve to death, 2nd emaciated dog seized

Memphis, TN

Shelby County

December 29, 2008

A man who told police hard times kept him from feeding his dogs has been charged with animal cruelty after officers found one of the animals dead.

According to a police affidavit, officers answered a prowler call at a home in the 1000 block of Stafford, where resident April Johnson told them a window had been broken out at the rear of the home.

While investigating the scene, officer saw a gray and white pit bull puppy lying dead near a dog house. Nearby, officers found an emaciated pit bull puppy tethered without food, water or shelter.

April Johnson told police the dogs belonged to her husband, Edward Johnson Jr., who told officers he couldn't afford to feed them.

Officers charged Johnson, 28, with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and another count of animal cruelty.

Update 12/31/08:  The Memphis and Shelby County Humane Society director says - no pet should go without food. In fact, he says, the Humane Society has a program to help families with pets.

Butch Lulloff, the Memphis and Shelby County Humane Society director says they'll give those in need free dog and cat food.  "There's always a way to get food for an animal," he said.

They started an emergency food pantry about five months ago during hurricane season because they were housing evacuees' pets and with the bad economy they decided to keep the pantry open.

"We can't give someone 500 pounds of dog food," he said. "We'll give them a 20 pound or 50 pound bag."

Lulloff says they're going to check you out before handing over any food and keep a photo ID of you on file so they can keep track of your requests.

Those they decide to help will get no more than two bags of food a month.

"The ones that really need it are extremely emotional, in tears," he said. "We try to help them and see what the circumstances are."

The Humane Society's food bank is supplied by donations. If you want to help they'll take food or money and give you a receipt because it's tax deductible.


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