Owner of 18 emaciated dogs may face charges

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 10, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Eighteen dogs were taken into protective custody Wednesday by Animal Services. Some are only 3-5 weeks old. Five had to be put down due to disease and injury.

The dogs were taken from 1933 Old Savannah Road in Augusta. Now, the owner could face up to 18 charges of animal cruelty.

"Nothing should be treated that way," said Fred Fortune, the mail carrier for the area.

He says the owner shouldn't have let it get this far.

"It's like with kids, you shouldn't have more than you can handle," he said.

Now, whether he could handle them, is a question left up to Animal Services.

"There were a few who were in obvious pain," said Diane Downs, the director at Augusta Animal Services.

She says whent the dogs were picked up, some were very skinny, some were injured, and some even had diseases.

Now Animal Services is investigating whether adequate care was given to the dogs.
The director says they are examining the dogs more, as well as the environment they lived in, and also talking with the owner.

Penalties for the owner could include up to a $1,000 fine per animal, possible jail time, and community service.

"Seems to me, I don't--I can't understand what he was thinking," Fortune said.

He also thinks the owner should have done something with the dogs if he couldn't take care of them himself.

"Sell 'em, turn 'em in, put em up for adoption. but just don't leave em bad," he said.

Animal Control was called to the home with a report of dogs fighting, but after inspecting the dogs, officials say they don't believe the dogs were involved in any organized dogfighting ring.

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