ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - An Alex City animal cruelty suspect is facing dozens of additional felony charges.
The 56 new charges against Nick Patterson, 30, deal mainly with financial matters such as allegedly stealing his grandparents' credit card and ringing up about $15,000.
Patterson was initially charged with animal cruelty. Police say he is on his way back now from Iowa where he surrendered last week.
Patterson is accused of starving and neglecting his purebred Collies on his grandparents' property on Pearson Chapel Road in Alex City. Patterson allegedly told investigators in early June he could no longer care for his dogs because he hurt his foot.
"He also claimed his help quit in February. He could have gone out to check on them. Do I believe him? No sir, I don't," said Alex City Animal Control Officer Kelly Cotney.
Fully grown, the dogs should weigh around 75 pounds, but investigators say Patterson's dogs only tipped 25 pounds on the day they were found. A family member alerted police. When authorities arrived, they found some of the dogs infested with maggots.
"He ran out of money. He wanted to maintain a certain lifestyle and the dogs came second," Cotney said.
Of the 20 animals found, 14 survived, and two are still missing. One of the surviving dogs is with a foster family while the rest are recovering at the city shelter.