Three Gastonia residents are behind bars, charged with crimes related to animal cruelty.

Police arrested Nicholas Andrew Cowart, 23, of Turner Road, and Rhonda Ann Watson, 48, of South York Highway, on Friday.

Cowart is charged with one felony count each of killing an animal by starvation and cruelty to animals. Watson is charged with one felony count of killing an animal by starvation.

Police say the two both starved to death a dog that Cowart owned. According to warrants, the two deprived the dog of necessary nutrition between June 18, 2018 and Aug. 23.

Police say Cowart also tortured and cruelly beat the 4-month-old dog.

Both were booked into Gaston County Jail, Cowart on $20,000 bond, and Watson, on $10,000 bond.

In an unrelated alleged incident, police say Darien Barber, 23, shot and killed a stray dog in his West McFarland Avenue neighborhood in Gastonia. He is charged with one felony count of cruelty to animals. Police say the alleged crime occurred Aug. 10.

Barber was arrested and booked into Gaston County Jail on Friday, and released the following day after posting $10,000 bond.

You can reach Eric Wildstein at 704-869-1828 or Twitter.com/TheGazetteEric.