09/04/09 — McKenzie facing animal charges

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McKenzie facing animal charges

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on September 4, 2009 1:46 PM

Lawton McKenzie

Investigators described "decapitated and dismembered animals" when they searched a Fremont home in December.

But the trial of Lawton McKenzie, expected to continue today, primarily concerns charges not for dead animals, but the live, allegedly malnourished animals on his property, according to court records.

Investigators said McKen-zie, 28, of Old Black Creek Road, possessed two underfed pit bull puppies and a female goat.

Although former Animal Control Director Justin Scally said his office did not count the number of dead animals at the home, which he has described as a "horrific" scene, he said his office's primary concern was for the living animals at the home.

"We would hope that he's prosecuted to the fullest extent, and that he's held responsible for the neglect of the animals," said Scally, now an employee of the Humane Society of The United States.

"The charges are stemming from neglect, neglect of the goat, and some dogs," the former animal control director said.

Investigation began on Dec. 3, according to court records, when a neighbor complained about McKenzie's property.

That led Chief Animal Control Officer Jerry C. Pate to a property adjacent to McKenzie's, from which he could see "that there were several deceased animals," according to court records.

Pate and Scally obtained a search warrant. Three knives, one machete, one bag containing dog remains and one bag containing bird remains were seized from the home, records show.

McKenzie's attorney, Lynn Whitted, did not return a telephone call for comment.

Scally has not testified in the case, which has been continued more than once.

The former animal control director said he had not been called to testify today, and he believes the case could likely end in a plea arrangement.