Morgan County man arrested after 32 animals found in poor conditions

"The home was in such a shape that words cannot describe," reads the Morgan County Sheriff's Office report.

DEER LODGE (WATE) – A Morgan County man faces animal cruelty charges after 20 dogs and multiple other animals were found in a home in deplorable conditions.

Jesse Gilbert, aka Jesse Norris (source: Morgan County Sheriff's Office)
Jesse Gilbert, aka Jesse Norris (source: Morgan County Sheriff’s Office)

Jesse Gilbert, 73, also listed as Jesse Norris, faces 18 counts of cruelty to animals. Officers were called to a home on Flat Rock Road in the Chestnut Ridge area on Tuesday for an animal complaint call and found 18 dogs not being taken care of, according a report from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

The report says the home was full of feces with no water source and no electricity. All of the windows were closed. “The home was in such a shape that words cannot describe,” reads the report.

“A lot of them was in real bad condition,” said Officer David Woodard.

The owner eventually arrived and told officer he takes care of the dogs, but keeps them locked up due to “mix breeding.” Officers went around the home and opened windows so the dogs could get fresh air.

When rescue group Animal Rescue Corps arrived on Wednesday, they found 32 animals on the property, including 20 dogs, one donkey, four miniature donkeys, two ponies, a potbellied pig, three roosters and a hen.

The group says small dogs were kept inside the house with no food or water. The home was full of animal feces, urine and debris. The stench kept authorities from entering the home immediately. Adult dogs and puppies, just weeks old, had signs of severe neglect including emaciation, mange, dehydration, intestinal worms, external parasites, runny eyes and alopecia. Four dogs were outside changed to trees and other animals were around the house in poor conditions. None had food or water.

Deputies attempted to contact animal control in several counties, but received no response. Instead, Animal Rescue Corps from Washington D.C. was contacted and they agreed to come and remove the animals.

“We’re going to bring them back to our emergency shelter and watch them turn into dogs for the very first time, it’s a beautiful thing,” said Scottlund Haisley, the president of Animal Rescue Corps.

Most of the dogs recovered were Chihuahua and Chihuahua mixtures. Animal Rescue Corps plans to take custody of the dogs and place them in happy homes.

Gilbert was taken to the Morgan County jail and released on $36,000 bond. Officials say he doesn’t live at the home, but shows up from time to time to check on the dogs. Animal Rescue Corps says he claimed to breed and sell the dogs.

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