DINWIDDIE, Va. (WRIC) — A Dinwiddie man accused of killing 21 dogs last year will spend two years in prison. Floyd Maitland pleaded guilty to all 22 felony animal cruelty charges and was sentenced Wednesday.
On Thursday, Dinwiddie Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Heim says she had asked a judge to give Maitland “significant” jail time.
“I don’t know if two years is enough to make up for the suffering he caused,” she said. “But I do hope that the 22 felony convictions send a message that Dinwiddie doesn’t tolerate animal abuse.”
In mid-February 2020, the Dinwiddie Animal Control was given a tip to conduct a welfare check at Maitland’s home on Boydton Plank Road. When they arrived, they found 21 dogs dead in cages.
“It was an emotional case for everyone. Everyone loves dogs,” Heim told WFXR’s sister station, WRIC.
According to Heim, a veterinarian determined that the 21 dogs died of starvation. She says many of the dogs were partially or significantly decomposed when they were found.
The veterinarian believes some dogs had been dead at least six weeks before they were discovered.
At the time, Alvin Langley, the head of the county’s animal control, said it was the most extreme case of animal cruelty he’s seen in his 14-year career. Some have called it the “Maitland Massacre.”
Maitland originally said he was innocent. Months later, in April 2021, he pleaded guilty to all 22 counts of torturing an animal causing death. During the sentencing Wednesday, the defense tried to lessen Maitland’s sentence by stating that he had been facing many personal issues, including depression and alcohol abuse.
This wasn’t the first time the Dinwiddie man had been caught mistreating dogs.
In 2011, he was cited and criminally charged for not properly feeding or caring for his dogs. The assistant commonwealth’s attorney says Maitland promised to change and take better care of the animals. A judge ultimately dropped the charges and Maitland paid some restitution fees.
When animal control arrived at his home in 2020, they found one surviving dog. WFXR’s sister station met the dog and his new family on Thursday.
“He’s our new little boy and we love him deeply,” said Sherry Kidd, the dog’s new owner.
Kidd says last year, she and her husband had just lost their dog and fallen into a depression. She says they visited the Dinwiddie Animal Shelter and fell in love with the “miracle dog.”
“I reached down and there was this cowering, shaking, scared, little skeleton with hair on him,” Kidd said.
On March 30, 2020, Phoenix was officially adopted by the Kidds, who live in Sutherland.
“Saving a dog certainly won’t change the world, that’s true. Maybe that’s true,” Kidd said. “But saving a dog will change their world forever.”
Now, 2-year-old Phoenix is destined for the spotlight. Every time one of WRIC’s cameras was out, he ran over to it and flashed a huge smile. He’s finally surrounded by love.
“We named him Phoenix because of the mythology. Because the bird, the Phoenix rises out of the ashes and so did [our] Phoenix,” Kidd said.
Kidd reflected on what Maitland did to not only her dog, but 21 others.
“It still surprises me that that kind of evil exists,” she said. “Not only did he not do for them. He tortured them.”
Heim says she hopes this case sends a clear message: that Dinwiddie County does not tolerate animal abuse.
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