Malnourished dogs taken from Melbourne home

Phariouse Phillips arrested on animal cruelty charges

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Five severely underweight dogs were taken from a Melbourne home Tuesday morningĀ  as police arrested their owner.

Brevard County Animal Services Capt. Bob Brown said the malnourished dogs were taken to an emergency veterinarian.

"They were on the bad end of the scale," Brown told Local 6 News partner Florida Today, referencing a 1-to-5 scale that rates a canine's health. "Their ribs are fully showing; you can almost see their entire skeletal systems."

Brown said animal services workers had been working with the owner since a first complaint in April, trying to bring the animals back to good health. Animal services workers checked the dogs Tuesday morning and found bad conditions, prompting them to call for help from Melbourne police.

Melbourne police Lt. Byron Barnes said the owner, Phariouse Phillips, 34, was arrested and faces five counts of cruelty to animals.

The mixed-breed dogs will be evaluated for diseases and could be placed up for adoption or put in foster care, Brown said.

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