In a follow up to a JoCoReport exclusive story we brought you on June 13th, prosecutors now say there is not enough evidence to charge a Four Oaks man with any felonies even though graphic photos reportedly showed clear signs of animal abuse and neglect.
Neighbors of 62 year-old Bobby Gene Barbour said they have been complaining since 2015 to Johnston County Animal Services about what they allege was an illegal puppy mill being operated on Mulberry Road.
Nearby residents said they made multiple calls to Animal Services. They claim many of the messages left for animal control officers were never returned. But officers did respond on at least 3 different occasions.
In early June, a pit bull named Hank was found by animal control with a collar growing deep into his neck. The collar was removed and the dog along with two others was seized by animal control.
Barbour was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for Hank’s condition.
Neighbors turned over videos and multiple photographs to JoCoReport showing the conditions the animals were living in. We published the videos and some of the photos last month which prompted the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office to take a closer look at the case.
In an email, Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson told us, “Because the Four Oaks dog case is a pending criminal matter, we cannot comment publicly about the specific facts, but I can confirm that we are not filing or seeking felony charges in that particular case.”
Responding to the news a neighbor said, “It’s unfortunate but that’s our North Carolina laws.”
There are at least two good things that have come from the news report. Neighbors tell us all the dogs are now gone from the site and because of the increased attention to the rural area, traffic at a nearby suspected drug house has disappeared.