This pit bull was rescued Thursday morning after allegedly being locked in a vehicle for 12 hours while its owner drank alcohol with friends. (photo by Jeff Bobo)
BULLS GAP — A Hawkins County man was charged with cruelty to animals Thursday morning after allegedly leaving a dog locked in his truck for approximately 12 hours while he drank alcohol all night with friends.
Hawkins County Sheriff's Office Deputy Michael Lipe stated in his report that when the dog was rescued from the vehicle around 11 a.m. Thursday it appeared to be "very underweight and malnourished" and "hot to the touch."
Shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday Lipe was dispatched to the apartment complex parking lot at 126 North Shepard Drive in Bulls Gap on an animal neglect complaint.
A witness reportedly stated that a pit bull had been locked in a Chevy Blazer parked in the parking lot all night.
Lipe was eventually able to locate the owner of the Blazer, Douglas Charles Clarkson, 28, 181 Green Road, Bulls Gap, in an apartment.
"Douglas stated that he had arrived at the apartment between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Wednesday), and he had been drinking alcohol throughout the night with friends," Lipe stated in his report. "He stated that the dog had been in the vehicle for the whole amount of time he had been in the residence. When Douglas opened the right front door of the vehicle I observed a small bowl of water in the front seat."
Lipe added, "Also in the vehicle there was an odor of gasoline, and in the back of the vehicle I located a gas can with approximately two gallons of gas in it."
The dog was placed in the custody of the Hawkins County Humane Society pending disposition of the criminal charge against Clarkson.
HCHS assistant manager Sandy Behnke said the neglect this dog has experienced has been going on for much longer than the 12 hours it spent in the Blazer.
"This dog was emaciated, malnourished, and full of worms," Behnke said. "It's literally just skin and bones. This neglect has obviously been going on for a while."
Clarkson was released from the Hawkins County Jail on $1,000 bond. He is scheduled for arraignment Monday in Sessions Court.
The dog is currently being nursed back to health by staff at the shelter. Clarkson reportedly contacted the HCHS Thursday afternoon wanting his dog back, but his request was declined.