County steps in to rescue menagerie of abandoned animals
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Six black and brown dogs with protruding ribs bark loudly at anyone who approaches the Blues Brothers statue that sits in front of Jake Silcox’s house along U.S. Highway 421. Tucked into a stone wall behind the statue are three warning notices from an animal control officer who notes that the animals appear to have no food or water and need medical attention.
In addition to the large dogs, three miniature ponies, three llamas and what appears to be a peacock
eat silently from a stack of hay tossed over the fence by neighbor Sid Arnold.
“I’d say he [Silcox] started moving out alittle over a month ago,” Arnold said Thursday. “I asked him ‘are you moving or are you going on vacation,’ and he said, ‘I’m undecided right now,’ but his lights and water are off.”
In an interview Thursday with the Bristol Herald Courier, Arnold declined to speculate why Silcox mighthave left his home and animals behind.
Silcox, a professional motorcycle drag racer
, could not be reached for comment. Phone calls made to a Bristol, Tenn., business he owns and uses to promote his status as an All Harley Drag Racing Association rider were not returned. When a call was placed to the phone number listed for his house on the 3900 block of Highway 421, a recording said the phone had been disconnected.
Over the past two weeks, Silcox and his animals have drawn the attention of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, which confirmed an investigation Thursday.
“We are aware of the situation and are investigating it,” Capt. Keith Elton said Thursday, adding that both his office and the University of Tennessee’s Extension Office in Blountville have been monitoring the animals and are building a case against Silcox