Lieutenant under investigation for animal cruelty

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A lieutenant with the Petersburg Sheriff's Office is under investigation for animal cruelty.

Last week, several dogs and more than a hundred pigeons were seized from the home of Lieutenant Ronald Jarratt.  He's a jail commander with the sheriff's office.

No one answered the door at Jarratt's home Thursday afternoon. But his boss, Sheriff Crawford, spoke about the matter.

"He's being investigated.  He has not been charged with anything so I'm not overly concerned," said Crawford.

On October 24th, animal control seized 110 racing homing pigeons and three dogs from Jarratt's home in the 1900 block of Matoax Avenue.

According to court records, animal control says based on the investigation, the animals were abandoned, cruelly treated, and there was an immediate threat to the life, safety or health of the animals.

Jarratt's neighbors call the situation strange.

"Bizarre, I though it was very bizarre," said Esther Lane.

Another neighbor, Kathleen Hallahan, witnessed animal control removing some of the animals.

"I certainly didn't know he had any pigeons, nevermind that number, over a hundred.  I'm surprised," said Hallahan.

Hallahan says as a child she had homing pigeons.

"They're the birds you used to tie notes to the legs and transfer messages back and forth," she added.

Jarratt has faced several charges in the past in connection to animals, including not having a kennel license. The charges were eventually dismissed.

Those 110 pigeons and 3 dogs taken from his home are now being housed at the Petersburg Animal Shelter.

Jarratt is petitioning for the return of the animals. That will be heard in court on November 16th.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Crawford says Jarratt's duties will not change while he's being investigated.

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