JEFFERSON-At least one person is claiming that a dog that disappeared from a property in Lansing over the weekend has been found.
That news comes from an online status and photos released by “The Pug Queen,” a Facebook user that has periodically posted updates on the ongoing Lansing dog controversy. The accuracy of the claims has been confirmed, and messages to The Pug Queen were not immediately returned.
“I know you all have been worried about Chained Pug Boy,” according to the status. “And the Lansing, NC gossip mill has been in overdrive. But let me assure you that the pug was rescued. I received an anonymous email and photo and proof that he is safe. And loved. And already medically treated.”
The poster said she has no information on the dog’s whereabouts or who took the dog.
“So don’t ask and let it be,” the poster wrote. “I have no leads or info to offer the Sheriff or (Ashe County Animal Control) and I hope they use the tax payers money to fix the unacceptable squalid hell conditions of the other dogs and animals on the property instead. I will continue to reach out to animal organizations and media on behalf of the other animals but I will not be involved directly. I am a pug rescuer and now that this pug is safe I have others to rescue.”
Messages to The Pug Queen were not immediately returned.
Ran away? Stolen?
Ashe County Sheriff James Williams confirmed Sunday afternoon that one of the dogs owned by a Lansing man at the center of an ongoing animal rights controversy had been reported as stolen.
That dog was a small pug owned by Daniel Cruz of Lansing, Williams said.
Williams said he was contacted by Ashe County Animal Control Director Joe Testerman Sunday morning, who told Williams Cruz’s dog had been reported stolen. That call came in around 9 a.m. on April 10.
In between road calls Monday afternoon, Testerman said he’d handed the investigation to Ashe County Sheriff’s Office investigator Christopher Eldreth, but said he’d heard nothing to indicate the missing pug had been found.
Williams confirmed that his office had interviewed Lisa Fitzpatrick, a local animal rights activist that kicked off the firestorm of controversy surrounding the Cruz property in early February, about the disappearance.
“But that’s really as far as it’s gone,” Williams said. “She says she has video that was trained on that property that would tell the tale, but we’ve not seen that yet. We’ve also not heard that someone is claiming the dog had been rescued.”
The Cruz property has been a subject of local and national controversy for more than two months after Fitzpatrick, who also goes by Lisa Neyland DeLaurentiis Fitzpatrick, published a viral video of animals living on the property in early February. Many viewers believed the animals, including at least five dogs and multiple roosters, were being abused by the property owner. The video was watched more than 80,000 times in less than 48 hours.
Fitzpatrick was later charged with second degree trespassing. That charge was later dismissed.
She has since launched calls for an outside investigation of the property and for Testerman’s dismissal. County leaders, including Ashe County Manager Sam Yearick and multiple members of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, have voiced their support for Testerman.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.