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Gaston man operates on his dog after finding that vet’s bill would be too high

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) - A man from Gaston was charged this week with felony animal abuse after officers say he allegedly did surgery on his own dog by cutting a tumor from the animal’s belly. He decided to undertake the do-it-yourself surgery after saying that he couldn’t afford the cost of a real veterinarian clinic.

Gaston area resident Carson Lamar Cowles, 59, was charged with one count of ill treatment toward animals, which is a felony charge. The maximum penalty is five years in prison. He also faces three other charges for failure to have proof of rabies vaccinations for other animals in his care.

Investigators did say that Cowles called around to find out how much it would cost to have the tumor removed from an older dog he had. When he decided he couldn’t afford the cost, he cut the dog’s abdomen and tried to remove the tumor himself. His crime came to light when he began to call veterinarians to see how much it would cost to close the dog’s wound with stitches. One of those doctor’s offices notified the Lexington County Animal Control services and officers executed a search warrant on Cowles’ Fish Hatchery Road home. At that time, they took the dog from Cowle.

The dog, a 15-year-old dachshund, was taken to a veterinarian at the Lexington County Animal Shelter and is now recovering. Several other dogs at Cowles’ home were taken into custody until a family member agreed to look after them. Cowles bond has been set at $2,500 and he is prohibited from possessing animals until the case comes to trial.

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