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Monday, Aug 8, 2011County: Gwinnett
Case Images: 1 files available
» Buffy Lynn Sims
» Justin Lee Sims
A Lawrenceville couple is accused of taking in animals and starving them.
Buffy Lynn Sims and her husband, Justin Lee, were charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty each, remained at the Gwinnett County Jail on $18,200 bond each Wednesday. Lawrenceville police said they found malnourished animals at their home on Forest Place.
Neighbors alerted police, saying dogs that appeared to be malnourished were fighting at the Sims home. When police went to the home, they said, there were 12 dogs and two kittens that were severely emaciated. Neighbors told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh they had recently seen the animals looking starved. Lynn Sims said she and her husband were rescuing street animals, but police didn't buy their story. The couple was arrested Monday.
Police and Animal Control officers spoke with homeowner Buffy Sims, who claimed she had planned to seek veterinary care for the emaciated animals "tomorrow," according to a Lawrenceville police report. In the back yard, officers noted a pitbull and several smaller dogs in "skeletal" condition, with no apparent food or suitable water. Animal Control removed nine dogs from the back yard.
When asked by police what the dogs were fed, Buffy Sims said leftovers because she had not received her check to purchase dog food.
"All of the dogs we could see were so thin that we could see their ribs," an officer noted. "Flies were landing on them and they did not appear to have the strength to swat them off."
Inside the home, officers noted the floors were smeared with feces and urine, and dotted with cockroaches and flies. Sims' husband, Justin Sims, told police he'd found some of the animals "on the side of the road and had brought them home to ... get them back to health," the report states.
Officers confiscated a Boston terrier, a small dog bearing infected lesions on its back, two cats and a caged Guinea pig, the report states. Animal Control transported all the animals for veterinary care and treatment, as police arrested the Sims.
The animals were taken to the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter, where officers are nursing them back to health. A baby Chihuahua has been adopted by a county employee. Three other animals were taken to local pet rescue centers, but eight others remain at the shelter.
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