HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A 58-year-old Hampton man is facing more than 60 counts after 21 dead pit bulls were found inside a home on Monday.
Hampton police tweeted Thursday afternoon that Vernon Alonzo Silver was arrested Wednesday night and charged in connection with the investigation.
Silver is facing 65 total counts on three charges — felony cruelty to animals (22 counts), general duties (22 counts) and disposal of dead companion animals (21 counts).
Police were called to a house in the 200 block of Pochin Place Monday morning in reference to an unusual smell coming from a home. Officers went inside and discovered the 21 dead dogs and one still living. The surviving dog is at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter, where it is undergoing an extensive screening process, which is expected to take several weeks, according to police.
According to court documents, police also seized syringes and growth supplements from the home. Hampton Police Public Information Officer Cpl. Ashley Jenrette could not confirm whether Silver is suspected of dog fighting.
WAVY covered a case in April 2014 in which Vernon Silver was issued 32 summonses for failure to provide adequate care and animal cruelty. Animal Control removed more than a dozen pit bulls from a home on Abbey Court living in unsafe conditions.
In 2015, he was found guilty of animal cruelty.
“What we need, is for the courts to bring penalties to animal abusers, of any kind, that are the maximum,” said Debra Griggs, President of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.
Griggs urges neighbors to be observant of suspicious behaviors, and to call animal control, perhaps more than once, should they notice anything.
WAVY returned to the home on Abbey Court, Thursday. No one answered the door. Neighbors stated that Silver’s family still lives there. Police were observed on the block this week.
Outside of the home on Pochin Place, animal advocates have created a makeshift memorial. Twenty-one roses represent the deceased pit bulls. One pink rose represents the surviving dog, which advocates have named “Lucky.”
At the home on Saturday, starting at 5 p.m., advocates plan to hold a vigil for the dogs.
“These animals cannot be forgotten,” said Misty Collins. “This can’t be in vain.”
Silver declined an interview with WAVY from the Hampton City Jail. He is due in court later this month.