A Gilmer County man is facing a felony animal cruelty charge after the dog he was caring for died.

West Virginia State Police arrested Billy Richards, 56, of Glenville, after getting a tip that a dog that Richards was caring for may have died due to starvation or freezing temperatures.

Richards was taking care of the dog while its owner was in New York, court documents say.

When questioned by troopers, Richards told them that the dog was kept outside, that he fed it every other day, only let it out of the cage when he fed it and only provided it a blanket for protection from the elements, according to his criminal complaint.

Troopers had Richards dig the dog’s body up and found it to be very skinny and malnourished, they said.

Richards is being held in the Central Regional Jail with bail set at $15,000.

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