An Abbeville man was arrested earlier this month after police found three dogs dead and rotting in his back yard.
Mario Rouse, 30, of 405 Richey St., was charged with disposal of dead animals and three counts of ill treatment of animals. An Abbeville city judge found him guilty during a municipal court hearing Monday night and sentenced the man to pay $1,050 in fines on the charges, according to officials.
Police responded to the home Feb. 9 following reports that animals had been abandoned there and were deceased. The caller told dispatchers they had seen buzzards circling around the backyard of the residence, and residents had moved out weeks prior. According to an Abbeville police report, officers arrived and first encountered a Chevrolet parked at the home. Officers ran the vehicle's license plate numbers, which showed the suspect owned the car. Police found several dog houses in the yard and located rotting dog carcasses in two of the houses. Officers found a fully rotten dog carcass in a third dog house. All three animals were chained at the neck when they were found, shackled either to trees or ground stakes.
It also appeared all three dogs had been left at the residence for an extended period of time, reports indicated as far back as Jan. 20. Officers determined the animals died from abandonment and neglect, noting they were left out in the harsh wintry conditions without food or water. The only water in the dogs' food bowls appeared to be rain water.
The property owner told officers she rented the home out to the suspect and a 36-year-old Abbeville woman in December and January. Police tracked the suspect the day after finding the dead animals. He surrendered to the officers and admitted he owned the dogs.