Couple facing animal abuse charges after dogs found emaciated at their former Woods Cross home

WOODS CROSS, Utah — Three dogs were found emaciated inside their owners' former Woods Cross home on Sunday, three days after Thanksgiving.

Woods Cross police said the owners, 28-year-old Cody Lucero and 24-year-old Shaleesa Lucero, will face three animal abuse charges each. Police also said the Luceros were evicted from their house on Thursday.

Officer Jen Hicks said the Luceros left three pets to die inside a home at 1723 S. 1200 West, which they had moved out of days ago.

The dogs included a young German Shepard, golden lab mix, and a pit bull mix. They said the golden lab mix was in the worst condition.

“All of them looked like they hadn’t eaten in weeks,” Hicks said.

On Saturday, the Luceros' former neighbor Justin Kourbelas said he heard the dogs barking and was deeply concerned over their treatment.

“In the past, I have seen those pets be mistreated and left out in the cold,” said Kourbelas.

Kourbelas told FOX 13 he watched the Luceros move out on November 24th.

“It took about three or four days to move out, and then we had noticed they had been gone for about three days.  The dogs were inside howling barking, probably cold, probably scared, been left behind," Kourbelas said.

Kourbelas said he called animal control on Saturday, but could not get a hold of anyone. He reached police on Sunday.  Officer Hicks said police did not waste any time once they saw the conditions inside the home.

“Through the back French doors, [he saw] three dogs. And, with all those dogs, he was able to view their rib cages sticking out of their bodies. One of them looked like it was losing some hair. They were barking. So, at that point, since we weren't able to make contact with the landlord of the home, we applied for a search warrant," Hicks said. "It probably looked like the animals had maybe two or three days left, and then they would've most likely passed away from their malnourishment."

Hicks went on to describe the squalid conditions inside the home.

"It was covered in feces. It had animal feces everywhere.  The house that they were living in clearly had been kept this way for a period of time to get it to that level of filth," Hicks said.

Kourbelas and police said they are relieved the dogs were recovered before it was too late.

“It makes me really upset that people would, you know, just take the responsibility of buying dogs, let alone three dogs, and not taking care of them. It’s disturbing and I don’t think people like these guys should have pets," Kourbelas said.