Rescue group leaders arrested after more than 100 dogs found in back of U-Haul truck
Two women who were moving their rescue operation from California to Virginia were arrested after police discovered more than 100 dogs in the back of their rented U-Haul truck.
Bonnie Sheehan, 55, and Pamela A. King-McCracken, 59, both of Long Beach, Calif., were each charged with 128 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a Class E felony, and were jailed on $100,000 bond each in Fayette County, Tennessee.
West Tennessee highway troopers found 127 dogs in all, including one who had died. Most were locked in the back of the truck — some in crates, some not.
A few dogs and one cat were in a minivan being towed behind the truck.
Sheehan is the founder of Hearts for Hounds, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit organization that has rescued and placed more than 17,000 dogs into permanent homes.
“We are a pack of humans trying to make a difference in the dog world!” says the website, which was offline yesterday. “Our goal is to find a loving home for every dog we rescue.”
A state trooper pulled the truck over Tuesday for tailgating, and inspected its cargo area after detecting a foul odor coming from it. Upon finding the animals he moved the truck to a Pilot Travel Center parking lot off Interstate 40′s exit 42 in Fayette County, where the dogs could be dealt with away from the Interstate.
Officers described seeing urine and feces all over the cargo compartment and no food or water for the animals, according to a district attorney’s office press release.
Sheehan and King-McCracken, who both showed California identification, told investigators they were en route from Long Beach, Calif., to Roanoke, Virginia.
“I have seen animals like this when we raided a puppy mill a few years ago,” Fayette County Animal Rescue agent Gina Thweatt told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “But as far as transporting them like this? No… not where they literally could not get any air or circulation.”
The dogs had been locked in the truck and van since Saturday without food or water, police said.
Animal shelter officials said the dogs and cat would be taken to shelters in the Memphis area.
(Top photo by Kyle Kurlick / Memphis Commercial Appeal)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
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