MONTGOMERY COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - UPDATE: The Atlanta Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Unit spent four days in Candler County providing medical exams to nearly 170 dogs who had never had a vet examination.
The dogs are off the property now and are recovering, most of them in Atlanta. We’ll let you know when the adoption process can begin and we’ll keep you informed as the former owner of the dogs, Angela Powell, makes her way through the courts.
A woman was arrested for the living conditions of dogs in two Georgia counties.
Authorities say Angela Powell was arrested late Wednesday night.
We spoke with the owner off camera. She said some of this problem happened from a family dispute over the Montgomery County property, and had to move the dogs to the small piece of land. She’s also moved many of them to property in Candler County.
WTOC confirmed that Candler County has filed suit against her for bringing a nuisance into the county. The Candler County Sheriff’s Office issued the arrest warrant.
“Muddy, feces-covered dogs. We saw one dog that was deceased and being eaten by other dogs,” Candler County Sheriff John Miles said.
Neighbor, Brooke Sapp, and others went to the property to make sure something is being done.
“I’m saddened by all these dogs that aren’t being loved and taken care of properly,” Sapp said. “To me, dogs are like people or children that have to be taken care of.”
The sheriff says Powell started bringing her dogs to Candler County back in the summer. The number of dogs and their barking prompted the county to sue her in civil court for creating a nuisance.
“It’s true, you can own a dog. You can own more than one dog, but you can’t have property, including animals, that creates a nuisance and keeps your neighbors from enjoying their property,” said county attorney, Kendall Gross.
Sheriff Miles says he’s never seen an animal case this large and this extreme.
A rescue operation by a New York animal group comes after neighbors feel the animals have been in rough conditions for too long. They say they’ve dealt with the smell and noise for months - even years. They’re glad there’s now a rescue group getting the dogs to new homes.
An advance team from Guardians of Rescue checked on the dogs' conditions to see which ones can be adopted quickly and if any need medical treatment first.
Gary Collins says he quit a job at the shop next to the home because of the dogs.
“It’s pretty bad. I couldn’t bear the smell. I couldn’t bear the noise. I was having headaches, nausea, sick feeling all the time,” he said.
Neighbors have contacted animal groups as well as local law enforcement to get something done about the hundreds of dogs on site. Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin says they’ve answered complaint calls, but seizing the dogs isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“We don’t have a place in Montgomery County to house any dogs,” Sheriff Maybin said. “Montgomery County doesn’t have an animal control.”
The sheriff says they’ve been negotiating with the owner to surrender the dogs to avoid criminal charges.
“This problem didn’t happen overnight,” Maybin said. “It can’t be fixed overnight.”
He’s grateful for the rescue that will find new homes for the dogs.
We’ll continue to follow this story and let you know as it develops.