Three Barstow-area men are behind bars today after more than 40 sick and malnourished dogs and cats were discovered on their property without food or water, according to San Bernardino sheriff's officials and jail records.
William and Terrance Stovall, ages 51 and 45, respectively, and 37-year-old Christopher Lee Gardner were arrested at 8:31 p.m. Thursday in the 20600 block of Highway 58 in the desert community of Hinkley. They were booked for investigation animal cruelty, jail records show.
The investigation began about 7 p.m. Thursday when deputies were summoned to the house by a report that someone was trying to steal a dog.
"The attempted theft was unfounded," deputies said in a written statement.
Instead, a citizen had noticed a malnourished dog chained in the yard with no food or water. Because of the condition of the animal and the property, the person thought that both had been abandoned.
"The citizen was in the process of removing the dog ... to transport it to an animal shelter for medical treatment when he was approached by an occupant," according to the statement. "During the investigation, it was discovered there were 40 dogs ... and several cats confined without food or water.
"All of the animals were in poor health and extremely malnourished."
Gardner and the Stovalls live at the house. They are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Barstow Superior Court.