GORE — Two coonhounds, one that was dead, were being kept in appalling conditions at a home in the 2000 block of Ebenezer Church Road, according to police, but the owner said there were extenuating circumstances.
Deputy Christina A. Tasker, an animal control officer, wrote in a criminal complaint that she responded to the home around 10:55 a.m. on Sept. 20. Tasker wrote that a female coonhound named Moll was able to move around in her enclosure, but the enclosure was covered with feces and there was no food and the water in her bowl was “murky green.” The other dog, named Penny, was found lying in her enclosure with no food or water.
“Penny was skeletal in appearance with a possible broken limb. A green, puss-like substance was observed in its eyes, and the right eye was bloody,” Tasker wrote. “Feces was present in the enclosure, though not as much as in the first dog’s enclosure.”
Tasker said Moll wore a collar with the tag that had the name and phone number of Lorne Edward Porter, who lives at the home. Lt. Warren W. Gosnell, sheriff’s office spokesman, said in a Tuesday email that police were called by Porter’s niece. She told them her uncle was hospitalized and she couldn’t care for the animals.
Tasker also wrote that two ducks and 20 to 30 chickens were found with no food or water or green-colored water filled with algae.
Porter said in a Wednesday interview that he was hospitalized on Sept. 19 after suffering a heart attack. He said he didn’t have time to contact anyone about the animals except his niece, who was living at the home. He said she was pregnant and bedridden and unable to care for the animals.
Porter said Penny, 13, was dying and he had called a veterinarian to have her euthanized, “but I went down before she could.” Despite the conditions Tasker described, Porter said the animals were regularly fed and cared for.
“I’m 60 years old and I’ve had dogs all my life,” he said. “I did take care of them.”
Porter was charged on Nov. 17 with cruelty to animals, inadequate care of an animal and two counts of inadequate care of agricultural animals. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Frederick General District Court at 1 p.m. on Dec. 6.
Moll, estimated to be 7- or 8-years-old, was taken to the Frederick County Esther Boyd Animal Shelter. She was adopted earlier this month, according to Holly Grim, shelter assistant manager.