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Man arrested for cruelty after photos go viral online

By Lindsey Shelton and Megan Ashley Fink

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — A Natchez man has been arrested for animal cruelty after photographs of him reportedly holding dogs inhumanely went viral on social media.

Natchez Police Chief Danny White said photos reportedly of Charoyd H. Bell, 35, 1 Carriage Lane, inhumanely holding multiple puppies prompted an investigation.

Bell was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with carrying a creature in a cruel manner, a misdemeanor.

The photos show a man who is reportedly Bell holding puppies by their scruff, the skin of their back and upside down by the tail. The puppies range in size, and some appear to be less than a few weeks old, not having opened their eyes yet.

Another photo included in the post appears to be of two dogs fighting. The dogs have what appear to be injuries consistent with fighting. The photo does not show Bell or anyone else in it.

White said the matter is still under investigation.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office also conducted an investigation, but Sheriff Travis Patten said his deputies found no evidence of animal abuse at the residence pictured in the online post.

“I sent a deputy and three investigators to the residence to check into the claims,” Patten said. “Once my officers arrived, the alleged perpetrator was visibly shaken by all the death threats he had received, but was completely cooperative.”

Patten said the investigators took pictures and inspected all the animals on the property and found they had been well cared for. The pictures will be brought before a judge to receive an official judicial opinion. Until the opinion is released, Patten said, the matter is still under investigation.

Now, the sheriff’s office is investigating the threats to the alleged abuser and his family. Patten said the suspect’s mother received threatening phone calls as well.

“She is a upstanding citizen in our community and doesn’t deserve any of this,” Patten said. “I need those responsible for posting her information online to know that we will be seeking you out and charges will be filed against you.”

White said the NPD is also investigating the threats to Bell and his family.

Those who see evidence of a crime should file a report with the sheriff’s office, Patten said, and not take to social media to expose the alleged wrongdoing. Allowing the complaint to become public before it can be investigated can make it difficult or impossible to investigate crimes.

“The suspect will be alerted, and if they were doing something then, they won’t be by the time we get there because they know law enforcement is coming,” Patten said.

Patten said animal abuse is a widespread problem across the country.

“Stay passionate about your cause, but don’t do your cause a disservice by not giving us a chance to do our job first,” Patten said. “Also, remember that people also have rights that have to be protected in the process.”