Man accused of animal cruelty

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville man is facing felony animal cruelty charges after police said he allowed his aging Labrador retriever to become so sick and flea-infested that it had to be put down.

Gerald Rogers, 49, was arrested Wednesday after a Georgia Power employee reported finding the "malnourished and dehydrated" dog at Rogers' Short Street home a day earlier.

According to reports, Rogers told animal control officers that the lab stopped eating about two months ago and that he thought it might also have heartworms.

Police said the 15-year-old dog weighed 32 pounds, well under the healthy weight for an adult lab.

A responding Gwinnett County police officer wrote in his report that "the fleas on the dog appeared to be in the thousands."

Rogers reportedly cited "money problems" as the reason for not taking the dog to the veterinarian.

Animal control officers took the dog to an animal hospital, where it was euthanized.

Authorities said money issues are no excuse for animal neglect or abuse.

"Anyone who can't afford to take care of any animal should try to find a good home for it," said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman. "If not, then take the animal to the local shelter. The shelter will always make every effort to adopt animals out."

Jail records show Rogers is free on $5,700 bond.

A message left on Rogers' cell phone seeking comment was not returned Thursday.