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Elizabeth City man charged with animal cruelty for leaving dog behind after moving

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Posted at 3:35 PM, Nov 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-19 18:10:12-05

Elizabeth City, N.C. – An Elizabeth City man is charged with animal cruelty, after he left his dog for days without food or water, according to the Pasquotank Co. Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff says the dog’s health was so poor when he was found, he eventually had to be put down.

Charles James Cartwright

Charles James Cartwright

The dog’s owner, Charles James Cartwright, 31, had been renting a home on Preyer Ave.

The homeowner grew concerned after stopping by the house in early October.  Nell Morrison says she went by the house to get the rent and heard a dog crying and barking inside, but no one answered.

When she went back a few days later, there was still no one around and a neighbor said he hadn’t been seen for a while.

Morrison didn’t have a key with her, but says she was too concerned to wait, so Beth Ann Dickinson, who lives across the street, climbed in through a window.

Inside, Dickinson says the house was trashed.  Morrison says the Labrador-mix must have been there for at least three or four days.

“That just broke my heart.  I just cannot believe somebody would treat an animal like that,” said Morrison, “He was really thirsty and hungry, very very hungry.”

Dickinson says when they got him outside, he couldn’t drink water fast enough.

“It probably was about a gallon of water right there. I mean, a quantity of water about the size of the dog’s head [he drank] just immediately,” said Dickinson.

Animal Control was called and the dog was taken in by the SPCA, but the sheriff says he had other health problems as well and had to be euthanized less than a week later.

Cartwright was later indicted by a grand jury and arrested last week.

Dickinson says she just doesn’t understand why it came to this.  “Their story was that they were paying someone to feed the dog, but why wouldn’t they just ask the neighbor who they’d asked for so many things before?”

NewsChannel 3 went to the new address listed on Cartwright’s court paperwork, but no one was there.