Jennifer Scruggs (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)
EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -
Jennifer Scruggs, 37, of Guyton, turned herself in Wednesday night. Scruggs is the woman they say abandoned 26 animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and lizards, when the bank foreclosed on her home.
Scruggs currently had an active warrant for failure to appear and was wanted by the Effingham Co. Sheriff's Office for cruelty to animals, abandoning animals and improper disposal of dead animals.
The investigation began Nov. 20 when deputies were called to a residence in the 400 block of Hwy 17 near Guyton.
According to witnesses, the residence had been abandoned for at least two weeks and there were no signs of the homeowner.
Deputies say no one had fed the animals. Four animals were found dead and investigators believe they had started to cannibalize each other to stay alive.
"At this point, we suspect that maybe one of the dogs was eating some of the other animals. They were left with no food or water. They were basically just left to fend for themselves with no food or water. She took no action to try to find care for the animals. She didn't call animal control or us. She just up and left the animals. They had been there for two to three weeks and this is what we are left with," said David Ehsanipoor, Effingham County Sheriff's Office.
Ehsanipoor says Scruggs has been living in the area since the foreclosure. Deputies have talked with Scruggs on the phone and say she was planning to surrender Wednesday.
According to authorities, the surviving animals were taken to the Effingham Co. Animal Shelter. Police say additional charges against Scruggs are expected.