A man with a lengthy history of animal neglect and abuse was charged Monday with aggravated animal cruelty after he reportedly shot a chained dog that was inside a dog house.
Bulloch County Sheriff’s Deputy Rhett Kelly charged Fitzgerald Hendrix of Ervin Road with aggravated animal cruelty after being dispatched to a Clito-area location.
Bulloch County Sheriff’s incident reports were incomplete Tuesday, but Bulloch County Humane Enforcement Supervisor Joey Sanders told the Statesboro Herald that Hendrix, 56, had “shot his nephew’s dog while it was chained and in a dog house.”
During an animal cruelty call Monday, a police radio operator said a deputy had been bitten by a dog. Sanders said another dog running loose at the Ervin Road location bit one of the deputies at the scene. That dog was not the one killed.
Hendrix “shot the dog for no reason,” he said. “The nephew told me he had shot his dogs before and he just didn’t report it.”
Hendrix has an extensive record of animal cruelty and neglect, according to reports obtained by the Statesboro Herald Tuesday after an Open Records request to Bulloch County Humane Enforcement. Most of his infractions involved horses, but there were cases involving dogs and suspected dog fighting as well, reports stated.
In 2017, someone struck a horse near Buck Creek Road that humane officers knew belonged to Hendrix. The truck was severely damaged, the driver was hospitalized with serious injuries and the horse was killed, reports stated. A witness told officers they saw Hendrix dragging the horse’s body with a tractor, but he later denied ownership.
There were several reports in 2018 as well, involving horses running loose all the time, in the roadway, almost getting struck, Sanders said. Reports from those cases showed complaints of horses in poor condition, in a person’s garden and back yard, lying down in a cotton field, and appearing injured.
Humane enforcement seized three loose horses – a palomino mare, her older colt and a foal, which were taken to a licensed boarding facility and later re-homed. Hendrix admitted knowledge of the mare’s hurt and swollen legs, claiming the wounds were caused by a wire fence, He did not seek or administer medical treatment, reports said.
When humane officers returned the next day with state officials from the Department of Agriculture, Hendrix told them he thought they had picked up the horses three days prior and said “y’all do what you are going to do.” He was cited with three counts of nuisance animal causing danger and three counts of neglect/forfeiture in that case, reports stated.
In 2010, officers found a “homeless camp” near Buck Creek Road where loose horses were reportedly seen. Officers found no one there, but a camp with tents and dogs “tangled in cables” and suspected of being used for fighting. The horses, spotted by someone else riding horses in the area, belonged to Hendrix, according to reports. Sanders said there were several cases previous to 2010 as well.
Hendrix was arrested Monday and taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where he remains without bond, according to jail records.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.