HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va. -- A Hancock County man was arrested late Wednesday evening after, police said, he mutilated and killed 29 dogs and held a woman captive for several months.
Jeffrey Nally Jr., 19, is charged with 29 counts of animal cruelty, one count of domestic battery and one count of kidnapping.Nally was taken into custody after a SWAT team converged on his home at 1855 Orchard Lane. The home is in the north end of the county, off Route 8.
The female victim was also removed without incident, police said. She was a former girlfriend of the suspect that had voluntarily moved into the home in December but had since been the victim of physical and sexual abuse, police said.Officials in Hancock County became aware of the situation Wednesday after the victim’s mother contacted the West Virginia State Police. The victim’s mother told an officer that Nally had stated that he would kill any officer that showed up to arrest him. The woman also told police that Nally threatened to kill the woman and himself.Officials with the West Virginia State Police contacted the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office to assemble a SWAT team. The SWAT team was briefed on the matter and converged on the house around 9 p.m.After taking the suspect into custody and obtaining a search warrant, police said they found 29 dead dogs on the property. Some had been recently killed, officers reported. Some of the carcasses were found buried in the yard of the home, others were wrapped in plastic.Police believe Nally began killing the animals in January.“Mutilated, skinned, anything you can imagine,” said Chief Deputy Todd Murray of the animals. “[Nally used] everything from a crossbow, to a drill, saws to hammers. There were several means he used to [mutilate and kill the dogs].”Murray added that it appeared the suspect used a different tool to kill each dog.According to court documents, officers even found two dogs eyes in a mason jar."One dog had been shot several times. One dog had blunt force trauma to the head. One dog, we think, had its neck snapped," said Nicole Busick, Hancock County Dog Warden.The dogs were killed inside of the home, according to Murray. Police believe that Nally got pleasure from making his victim watch as he tortured and killed the animals.“After the dogs were killed, he would make her clean up,” Murray said.Three dogs were also found alive at the home. Police said the female told them all three were also set to be killed. One of the dogs rescued from the home was a black lab puppy. It had siblings that were killed.Nally used classified ads to locate and obtain the animals, often finding people to willingly drop off their pets thinking they had found a good home, police said.Police reported that he had been given many of the animals for free and had paid a small amount for the others."I'd like to give people the benefit of the doubt that they didn't know what was going on," said Busick.Most of the animals killed were puppies.Police also recovered several guns inside the home. Police said the guns were also purchased through classified listings.Nally was already under home confinement for having guns as a convicted criminal. Police said they pulled weapons from Nally's home back in June. In April 2010, he was convicted of domestic battery.Nally now faces more charges including kidnapping, domestic battery and 29 counts of animal cruelty.The three dogs recovered from the home were turned over to county officials. The three animals were all quickly adopted.