Monroe County Animal Control charged two women with mistreating animals and arranged for 40 dogs and four newborn puppies to be removed from their Unionville Road property after they were found in unsanitary conditions with matted fur and flea infestation on Monday, Sept. 9. The owner surrendered the animals and arrangements were made for the Atlanta Humane Society to pick them up and get them ready for new homes.
Dawn Kennedy, Director of Monroe County Animal Control, said she found that the dogs were in a condition that necessitated their immediate removal. They were confined mostly two to each small cage with feces littering the ground. Two dogs had given birth the preceding day and other dogs were carrying around the tiny puppies. Animal control helpers and volunteers came back to feed and water the 40 adult dogs.
There were Maltese, poodle, Maltipoos, Havanese, Havapoo and three Yorkies, all breeds that mature at 15 pounds or less. There were also six feral cats and 12 chickens (one injured) in the yard at the house. Twenty-four dogs were in 11 hanging kennels, with the three Yorkies housed together. Wire flooring allowed feces to drop to the ground from the hanging cages.
It was apparent that all of the cages and yards for the dogs had been built at considerable expense originally and that the structures were built for a breeding operation. However, Kennedy said that the owners, Jack and Linda Cummings, had never obtained a license as breeders. Robin Flory, U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector, was on site at the Cumming home to help evaluate the situation. Flory, who covers West Central Georgia, said that she does not often see a situation like this one.
“But it is always sad when we do,” she said.
She said that if the breeding facility had been licensed it would have been subject to random inspections two or three times each year. Kennedy said Animal Control got a tip that there were a lot of dogs at the home getting poor care. Cummings held one puppy and had a comb by her side to work on its fur. She said she would not talk to anyone from the press. However, she then said that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing radiation treatments when her husband passed away suddenly six months ago. Cummings said she has been staying with her daughter since then but has come back to feed the dogs daily.
New Assistant District Attorney Jessica Rock, who has 16 years experience with animal cases, will handle the investigation. Rock said neglect cases are handled as cruelty. Misdemeanor cases carry a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 12 months. If the case merits charges as a felony, it carries a sentence of one to five years.