Man charged after 4 dogs were left to die in cages inside Clayton home, police say

Willis Wayne Hodges
Willis Wayne Hodges Courtesy of the Clayton Police Department

A 53-year-old man was arrested Tuesday morning after three dead dogs were discovered in his former Clayton home. A fourth dog was found barely alive and was euthanized.

Willis Wayne Hodges is accused of leaving the animals locked in metal cages to die when he moved to Smithfield, Clayton police said in a news release Tuesday afternoon. Hodges has been charged with four felony counts of animal cruelty.

Neighbors reported a foul smell coming from the house at 229 E. Stalling St. in downtown Clayton, police said. Officers entered the house and found the four dogs.

Hodges was arrested at 2239 Johnson Court in Smithfield. He was placed in the Johnston County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

Police said the Clayton house belonged to Hodges' mother, who recently died. After her death, Hodges moved to Smithfield.

Investigators said they believe the dogs were left in the house for at least four weeks.

The house has been condemned by the Town of Clayton.