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Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011County: Shelby
Charges: Felony CTA
Alleged: Deborah L. Yons
Memphis Animal Control officers were called to the 3800-block of S. Goodman Circle around 10:00am on October 18th after receiving a complaint of a foul odor. The Memphis Fire Department was called to force entry into the home. According to the affidavit of complaint, the house was in unlivable condition and feces scattered throughout. Seven cats and one dog were found dead inside.
The homeowner, 51-year old Deborah Yons, arrived on the scene and told officers that she had not lived in the home since 2007 but left the animals there. She had last checked on them three weeks prior, but said she could no longer take care of the animals and left them to starve and die because "she had a lot of things going on in her life."
Yons was arrested and charged with 8 counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty. She has since been released from the Shelby County Jail on $5,000 bond.
Yons works in the animal care division at St Jude .
A spokesperson for St. Jude says Yons works only in a support capacity at the children's research hospital and that due to serious allegations was immediately put on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Neighbors say Debbie Yons is known for feeding stray cats in the neighborhood.
We saw bowls full of cat food and water on the front porch oh her home on Dearing in the Parkway Village area.
"We have some strays over here I think came from over there," said Jim Thomas
Jim Thomas says Yons also told him she rescued animals and at one time and had several dogs in her backyard.
"She used to pick them up and walk them around, " said Thomas.
That's why he can't believe she was arrested for animal cruelty.
"I think it's bad for anyone that mistreats animals. it's something else, " said Jim Thomas.
Tuesday police and animal control removed 6 dead cats and one dead dog from this house on South Goodman Circle in the University of Memphis area.
Yons owns the house, but hasn't lived there for years.
According to court papers, she told police until recently she had been checking on the animals, but could no longer care for them and left them to starve and die.
Neighbors say animal control also removed about three dog from her Parkway Village home when they took her into custody.
"And something in a cage. I don't know what that was," said Alice Morman
They say none of this makes sense since it appeared she liked animals.
"I just hate that she let them starve, because I got a dog myself," said Jacoriyon Hurt
St. Judge says Yons went through an extensive pre-employment screening process before she was hired.
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