WADESBORO — A man has been charged with animal cruelty after authorities say he starved an alpaca to death and abused other animals.
Gerald Rhynes, 64, is accused of mistreating several animals at his property on South Teal Hall Road in Wadesboro. He has llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and horses, according to Sheriff Landric Reid.
One alpaca was found starving to death, Reid said. Other animals were also in bad shape. The arrest warrant specifies that one animal was killed, but says that Rhynes was not feeding multiple animals “on a regular basis.”
Detective Steve Erdmanczyk said Rhynes has 200 to 300 animals on his property, and that there were multiple cases of abuse.
“I can’t say they all were (mistreated), but there were several,” Erdmanczyk said.
The sheriff said deputies had heard accusations of abuse and had begun an investigation.
“If it wasn’t for what’s going on now, there probably would’ve been more (animals that died),” Reid said.
The Anson County Sheriff’s Office worked with county animal control officers to take custody of the animals.
Rhynes was charged with felony killing an animal by starvation in the death of the alpaca. He was held in the Anson County Jail under a $500 secured bond but posted bond the same day.
Reid said additional charges are possible.
Records show Rhynes was also charged with felony killing an animal by starvation in February. Rhynes was charged with committing the offense on Jan. 28 and was arrested Feb. 27.
In that case, Rhynes allegedly killed an unspecified animal “by failing to provide adequate food, shelter and medical treatment,” according to the arrest warrant. Erdmanczyk said the first animal Rhynes allegedly starved to death was a horse.
Rhynes will appear in court for both charges on April 19.
All suspects facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.