Pet owner responds after neighbor posts photos of his dogs in the cold

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A Sanford homeowner refutes a neighbor's claim that his dogs were left neglected in the cold.

A Sanford woman is upset and posting on Facebook after her neighbor kept his dogs outside last night in freezing temperatures. That animal owner has fired back, saying he's done nothing wrong and takes good care of his animals.

Khyrsten Wilson snapped pictures last night of her neighbor's dog curled up and sleeping outside, another showing his pet carrier shelter. She said the two pit bulls had frozen food and water and called the conditions "cruel."

"I went out numerous times throughout the night," Wilson said. "The dog was huddled up by a tree. There was no blanket over the shelter."

Khyrsten Wilson snapped pictures Wednesday night of her neighbor's dogs outside in the below-freezing weather.



"The dog would rather sleep by a tree, with nothing, than to sleep in that crate because it didn't have any protection from the elements," she added.

The pet owner, Christopher Belk, says her claims are untrue.

According to Harnett County law, pet owners must provide food, water and appropriate shelter. Belk said he did that, and now he feels victimized by his neighbor's social media post.

"It can damage your credibility with people, before they even get an opportunity to get to know who you are, because of what someone else said," Belk said. "And I just want to set the record straight for my community, that this is not what I stand for. This is not what I'm about."

He told ABC11 he cares for his dogs and showed us where they were sleeping - a blanket now over the pet carrier, the other dog sheltered in an Igloo. He also gave us a look at both of them - showing off their weight, coats, paws and teeth.

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats told ABC11 that a deputy went to check the dogs last night and this morning and saw that the dog had unfrozen water.

The county said when deputies and animal control arrived in the morning, one dog had a dog house, and the other had a pet carrier with a canvas over it. They said both dogs appeared to be healthy, and advised Belk to get a "more sufficient dog house than the pet carrier." Belk took his dogs inside.

He says he's upset that Wilson would take to Facebook and call the law, but that she didn't knock on his door to talk face to face.

Wilson said she was advised not to approach the homeowner after calling authorities about the dogs - taking to Facebook after she claims the county wouldn't be immediately available to check the dogs' conditions.

ABC11 reached out to the NC Director of the Humane Society, Eric Geppi, to find out what the law says is an adequate shelter. Geppi said state laws don't have an exact definition and it can vary by county.

Harnett County told ABC11 they're in the middle of revising their pet shelter law.

Wilson isn't satisfied.

"That is abuse," Wilson said, "And whether this county has an ordinance that shows that or not, it does not change the fact that what that person did is animal cruelty."

Belk disputed that claim.

"I am not an animal cruelty person," Belk said. "I don't believe in cruelty to animals. I don't believe in all the things that's wrong that people do to animals. That's not me. I believe in treating an animal as you would treat your children, or yourself."

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