Athens man charged for leaving elderly dog in freezing temps, unable to walk

Written by: J. Tovar

Published February 16, 2023, at 6:40 PM ET

Oconee County (November 18, 2022) – An Athens man was arrested when animal control found his dog outside in 38-degree weather, unable to stand or walk with puddles of blood near the animal.

An Oconee animal control officer found the dog curled up in Robert Gipson‘s front yard with two puddles of blood near an igloo doghouse.

The officer was responding to a call of a lethargic dog in front of the house, and when she arrived, no one was at home. When she attempted to put the dog on a leash, it could not stand or fully extend its legs and kept stumbling, not steady on its feet.

The officer put a blanket on the dog and carried it to her truck to take it to receive veterinarian care.

Officers contacted Gipson by phone, who said the dog was 12 or 13 years old. He said he was out of town working when the dog was found, but it was in good shape when he left for his trip the day before. He said his wife and kids were in town but away for a school function.

Gibson was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the official initial incident report. The Georgia Gazette does not fix any spelling or grammatical errors that may exist. Any changes or redactions made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The topics discussed may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.]

On November 18, 2022, at about 0943 hours, I, Deputy Perrin, was dispatched to Gunter Circle in reference to possible animal neglect. When I arrived, I activated my body-worn camera and made contact with the complainant from Oconee County Animal Control. The complainant stated that she was called to the scene in reference to a dog being lethargic outside at the address.

When the complainant arrived, she found the dog curled up in the yard. There were also two puddles of blood in front of an igloo dog house. The complainant stated that she attempted to make contact with the homeowner by knocking on the door. The complainant stated that there was no answer.

The complainant decided to take the dog to a veterinarian and into custody for the dog’s welfare. When the complainant tried to place a leash on the dog, it would not stand. The complainant placed a blanket on the dog and stood the dog up. The dog did not seem steady on its feet by stumbling and keeping its rear legs in a half sitting half standing possession. The complainant attempted to pull the dog toward her truck to get the dog to walk under its own power. The dog did not. The complainant picked up the dog and placed it in the back seat of her truck.

The complainant and I took pictures of the dog house, a puddle of blood, and the surrounding area. The temperature on my patrol car information panel stated it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Through Dispatch I was able to make contact with the owner of the dog by telephone. The owner stated that he was out of town, but his wife and kids were in town at a school function.

I let the owner know that Oconee County Animal Control had taken the dog to be seen by a veterinarian and that he would need to contact them about what the next steps would be. The owner stated that the dog was about twelve to thirteen years old. The owner also stated that the dog seemed fine when he left the day before to work out of town. The owner’s name and number were turned over to Oconee Animal Control.

[End of Narrative]