A Georgia man was arrested Thursday, days after animal rescuers removed hundreds of dogs from deplorable living conditions on his property.
Reason Craig Gray of Nashville has multiple pending charges” for the cruel treatment of these dogs and obstruction” according to a statement from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office. The Facebook post noted that since the investigation is still underway, “there is no way to tell just how many charges will be filed.”
Gray, who ran a dog breeding business called “Georgia Puppies,” voluntarily surrendered more than 630 dogs last week. The surrender came after Gray told a Georgia Department of Agriculture inspector that he needed help and would be unable to continue to care for his animals, according to The Berrien Press. The inspector then contacted county animal control.
On Thursday, however, investigators searched Gray’s property and found an additional 85 dogs, mostly “young puppies,” according to the sheriff’s office. Officials believe that Gray had moved the additional 85 dogs off of his property when he surrendered the other dogs, and then brought them back later.
The dogs are now in the care of multiple shelters and rescue groups throughout the region. The Atlanta Humane Society, which took in some of the dogs, said on Facebook that the animals were “matted, covered in feces and have never been held or walked.”
“They were living outside in homemade sheds, and the crates were stacked on top of each other,” AHS spokeswoman Christina Hill told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week. “So when they went to the bathroom, it would drip down onto the other dogs.”
Another organization, Releash Atlanta, posted a heartbreaking video of one of the rescued dogs falling asleep standing up, a behavior the group attributed to living in a cramped enclosure.
“He has likely lived his entire life sleeping like this, learning to get comfortable standing, which is why even their toenails grow straight out versus curling,” the group wrote on Facebook.
Last year, the Humane Society of the United States included Georgia Puppies on its “Horrible Hundred” list of puppy mills. The list noted that a state inspector had written that Gray’s dogs had “outgrown their provided space” and needed more room, and that many dogs were leaving permanently in “temporary enclosures.” The organization noted that Georgia Puppies was selling dogs online through its own website, online classified sites and a now-deleted Facebook page.
Berrien County Sheriff Ray Paulk said in his statement that “there are many questions yet to be answered” about the case.
“One huge one is how this licensed pet dealer was allowed to have an operation with this many beautiful creatures to be able to populate to the point of being out of control and inhumane,” he said.
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