Neighbors of Daniel Cruz in Ashe Co, NC, had spent 16 years “fighting the system”, trying to get help for neglected animals on a neglected property. Eventually they reached out to a known rescuer, Lisa Neyland Fitzpatrick, for help. She investigated and obtained current and consistent video and photos of the ongoing situation like this:
Most have seen the images of “those Cruz dogs in NC” because of her. She gained this evidence despite being physically threatened by the offender and arrested for trespassing while filming. Dogs have been allowed to suffer and die on this property for years without intervention. The images speak for themselves. Inadequate housing, houses in muck preventing dogs from even standing on ground, dogs on chains unattended for days, deplorable conditions for even the roosters housed there. Animal advocates say.... NO MORE! In order to ensure the safety of the animals on this property and to address concerns in the community, we are calling for SUSPENSION OF JOE TESTERMAN, full independent investigation into the actions of this ACC Director, Daniel Cruz’s property and the condition of his animals. To this date, all efforts by outside agencies have been impeded by ACC Director Testerman. TESTERMAN SHOULD BE TERMINATED IF HE CANNOT PERFORM HIS DUTIES NOR COOPERATE WITH OUTSIDE AGENCIES IN STOPPING THIS BLATANT NEGLECT AND ABUSE!!! These are unacceptable conditions for animals and it is his job to address this.
DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE! As the leaders of this county, we demand that you take immediate action. We call for the suspension of ACC Director Testerman as stated above, pending investigation and subject to additional action. Further, Ashe County officials should take measures to prevent such neglect in the future. Cornelious, NC recently passed a measure which prohibits unattended tethering of dogs. Such a statute in Ashe County would vastly improve the treatment of dogs in your area and show the nation that you do, in fact, care about animal welfare and are taking action to combat neglect/abuse in NC.
These dogs have been allowed to suffer and die on the property of Daniel Cruz without intervention. The previous ACC Director, Jeff Jones, issued multiple citations to Cruz and eventually arrested him in 2002. At that time Cruz was ordered to own NO animals for two years. The current ACC Director, Joe Testerman, took over in approx. 2010. This Director has refused to act against Mr. Cruz despite irrefutable proof! He refuses to allow a full investigation despite the terrible conditions and undeniable evidence of large scale neglect. In fact, NOT ONE citation has been issued against Cruz in the 5-6 years since Joe Testerman took this position. Personal relationships have been mentioned as a potential obstacle and County Officials' refusal to act in such an egregious case only gives credence to the perception of impropriety.ONLY AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION WILL TELL THE TALE! ALLOW AN OUTSIDE AGENCY TO CHECK THIS PROPERTY AND FINALLY HOLD DANIEL CRUZ ACCOUNTABLE FOR YEARS OF NEGLECT/ABUSE!!