Memphis Firefighter Arrested, Charged with Animal Cruelty

Memphis Firefighter Arrested, Charged with Animal Cruelty

A Memphis firefighter is off the job and facing animal cruelty charges.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Memphis firefighter is off the job and facing animal cruelty charges. 35-year-old Marcus Gaines is charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty after police say they found two dogs, nearly starved to death, at his south Memphis home.

Gaines was arrested Sunday night after police say there was no sign of food or water.

Neighbor Antonio Jones describes the dogs as "skinny, not fed, left home alone a lot."

Jones says everyone in the neighborhood has noticed the two starving dogs at the end of the street. "The dogs had been up there for months not eating... it's a really terrible situation."

According to neighbors and the police, the dogs had chains dug into their necks so deep the dogs were cut and bleeding. Police found bowls filled with dirt and out of reach from where the dogs were chained.

A spokesperson for the Memphis Fire Department says Gaines was hired in 2007. He is assigned to Hickory Hill Station number 53. He is relieved with pay during the investigation. He was arrested after an anonymous complaint of animal cruelty.

Jones notes, "It's really bad for a firefighter that works for the city to be doing dogs like this. It really speaks to his character."

Gaines is out of jail on bond, but only his grandmother was home when we went to his door. She told abc24.com, "Don't worry about it, it wasn't no big deal. It wasn't no big thing." She says the dogs weren't starving, "All of us were feeding them."

That wasn't the case, according to police and neighbors. Jones says, "The dogs have been left alone for months. For months at a time, I'm a dog lover myself it's been months."

According to the police report the dogs had no discernible body fat and the animals' bone structure and ribs could be seen through their coats.

The dogs were taken to the Memphis Animal Shelter, where both are listed at a substantial risk of death.
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