By Patrick Yost
A Sylvia, N.C., man who allegedly spent the day drinking and throwing rocks at his own dog was arrested at Hard Labor Creek State Park on allegations that he terrorized other campers.
Willy Joel Cox, 42, was arrested by Morgan County Sheriff Office deputies at Lot 11, Hard Labor Creek Campground on charges of terroristic threats, cruelty to animals, disorderly conduct and public drunkedness on Thursday, Feb. 4, at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Reports state that neighboring campers alleged that Cox had “been somewhat of a nuisance all this day.” The campers alleged that Cox had “been drinking the majority of that day, hurting his dog by throwing rocks at it, saying he didn’t want the dog and that it was useless to him.”
One of the campers said when he took his own dog for a walk, Cox became “furious” and accused him of shining a flashlight onto his camping spot.
Cox allegedly approached several of the campers, asking if they were armed and telling them that he had a .357 caliber pistol while verbally threatening the group.
When deputies arrived, they observed Cox “speaking loudly… using derogatory language toward the campers.” Cox’s “speech was slurred and as he swayed back and forth…” reports state.
Cox told the deputies that when he went to his neighbor’s lot to address them, “everyone was being mean to him so he became upset.”
Cox allegedly told deputies he had been throwing rocks at his dog and that he “had no use for it.” While deputies were trying to mediate between Cox and the other campers, Cox allegedly told the deputies if the other campers were found “laying on the ground with holes in their heads” don’t come looking for (Cox).” He was then arrested and transported to the Morgan County Detention Center. The dog was transported to Morgan Public Safety Center to be cared for by the sheriff’s office until it could be transported to Morgan County Animal Control.