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Ag Dept. looking into dogs’ deaths — Jayess preacher says state agriculture department is examining his dogs

A local preacher says the state agriculture department is helping him find answers in the mysterious deaths of his dogs earlier this year.

Andy May said the Department of Agriculture and Commerce’s Bureau of Plant Industry at Mississippi State University is conducting an investigation into the deaths of Buckeye, Eazy Money, Fred and Scooter, registered beagles he raises for competition and companionship. The 49-year-old pastor of Full Gospel Church of God in Christ in Jayess discovered his four dogs — and a fifth dog belonging to a friend — dead in their pens on Jan. 25, and he believes they were poisoned.

“They’re looking into it,” May said Thursday. “They’ve been questioning some people.”

May said his 12 beagles were running about 7:30 p.m. on his uncle’s land on Huey Road off Highway 27 South in the Sartinville area. It’s something he’s done with dogs for about 30 years with no problems. This night was different.

Several of the dogs had found pieces of meat left on the side of the road and ate most of it before he could stop them. That was a Wednesday. He came home too late the next night to check on them, and when he went out Friday morning to freshen their water and feed them, he discovered their bodies.

It was his four that he said ate the tainted meat. He believes Scooter got sick in his pen and his friend’s dog consumed enough poison that way to kill him, too.

May said he iced down two of the dogs’ bodies in a large plastic container to transmit them to the agriculture department.

“I just kept them on ice until they could come get it,” he said. “They put crime tape on them and took them on.”

May said he’s waiting to hear more about the investigation.

May posted a photograph of a row of their lifeless bodies on his Facebook page, claiming the animals had been poisoned the night before. That post has been shared nearly 150,000 times.

Since the tragic deaths of his pets, May has been contacted by animal owners around the nation with similar stories.

“People are still contacting me and they’re reaching out from all over the country,” he said. “So many people are wanting to start some type of group to be supportive of one another for all of these animals being killed, and nothing’s being done. Tuesday night a man from North Carolina called me. His dogs were poisoned in an enclosure.”

The deaths have changed May somewhat. He doesn’t run his dogs at night and he hasn’t been back to his uncle’s land where he said the dogs were poisoned. He has since purchased two more beagles, but they’re not replacement dogs.

“They won’t take the place of the ones I lost,” he said.