GRAHAM (KFDX/KJTL) — Two men out of Graham are now charged with third degree felonies after a malnourished dog sadly passed away due to several health problems.

53-year-old Jeffery Allen Logan and 23-year-old Zachery Kent Anderson were booked into the Young County Jail over the weekend and are facing felony charges for cruelty to non-livestock animals.

In the past couple of weeks Young County Sheriff Travis Babcock has faced backlash from residents who claim they’ve made several reports about malnourished animals or dangerous conditions in which the dogs were living. One of the most recent reports was about a dog named Niko that was surrendered before he died due to his injuries.

“It was just a bad day. I don’t want to see any animal suffer,” Babcock said.

Sheriff Babcock said since 2017, they’ve investigated 45 animal cruelty reports, 32 of which required further investigation, and seven of those 45 were from the same residence that Niko was surrendered from.

Director of the Humane Society of Young County Shelby Brogdon said that should’ve been a red flag.

“He was emaciated, he had a body score of one, basically a bag of bones, and our issue with that besides the obvious is that this dog was first brought to our attention in January of 2021 and numerous calls have been made and the sheriff department’s deputies had been out,” Brogdon said.

“That dog, it looks like the same dog, was in good shape. He had some scratches on his back. Other than that, he was being fed. He had water, and he didn’t look bad. In fact, I believe he had even been being treated for heartworms at that time,” Babcock said.

Niko was surrendered on March 16 after concerned residents had made reports, ultimately leading to Logan and Anderson being charged with animal cruelty, which at the time was a Class A misdemeanor.

That was until Niko tragically passed away due to his injuries, resulting in the charge being bumped up to a third degree felony, something that Brogdon said doesn’t bring Niko back, but does bring some relief.

“It made us feel like a little bit of justice is coming for the dog, that he didn’t die without something good coming of it. So that maybe this will deter others,” Brogdon said.

Brogdon said if you’re thinking of getting a pet, make sure you do your research first.

“I know a lot of people see something cute, and they grab it and take it home, and then reality sets in. It barks, it’s not house-trained, it’s whatever, but you do have to make sure that you have the monetary means as well. We’re not opposed to somebody with lesser means to having animals, but you have to know that things are going to pop up. You’re going to have to have vet bills covered, and you’re going to have to have that food bill covered,” Brogdon said.

Sheriff Babcock said there are several ways the sheriff’s office can help those having difficulties keeping up with their animals, including help from the Humane Society of Young County.

Click here to visit the sheriff’s office page.

Click here for the humane society page.