Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18749
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Defense(s): Terry Bullard
Judge(s): Stan Garner

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Thursday, Oct 20, 2011

County: Dale

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Joey D. Senn

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

Dale County sheriff's investigators and Ozark Animal Control authorities seized more than 20 animals from a residence on Dale County Road 122 on Thursday.

Dale County Chief Sheriff's Investigator Harvey Mathis said authorities were still determining mid-Thursday exactly who owned the animals, but that the owner is expected to face a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for each malnourished pet.

The bones of around 20 dogs were visible under their skin as they ran from authorities throughout the wooded property. Water for the animals appeared darkened with dirt and leaves, while both dog feeders and their bags of food appeared empty.

Dale County Sheriff's Investigator Joe Weaver said the dogs taken to Animal Control included puppies. He said some of them were too weak to walk.

"It's one thing to have been barely fed, but some of them seemed to have been starving," he said.

Mathis said the seizure was the sheriff department's largest in at least four years.

"It's not about whether it's a human or a pet," Mathis said. "It's about the fact that if you can't take care of a living being, you have to take the necessary measures to find someone that can. Otherwise, we will aggressively pursue charges against you."

Mathis said that while the animals were taken to Animal Control, they likely would not be available for adoption until the conclusion of the investigation.

Animal cruelty in Alabama is generally a class A misdemeanor that carries a possible punishment of up to a year in jail and/or fines and court costs.

Case Updates

An Ariton man recently pleaded guilty to nearly two dozen animal cruelty charges, involving the neglect of multiple dogs, including six that died.

Dale County Sheriff's Chief Investigator Harvey Mathis said Joey Senn, 39, pleaded guilty to 21 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

Deputies arrested Senn on Oct. 26, about six days after investigators seized the dogs from his home on Dale County Road 122 in Ariton. Mathis said six of the dogs died because of their health condition.

The dogs seized by deputies varied in breed, Mathis said. They included some pit bulls, but most were hunting dogs.

Mathis said after Senn pleaded guilty, Dale County District Court Judge Stan Garner sentenced him to a 12-month suspended jail term for each charge, which was ordered to run concurrently with each other.

But Mathis said Garner also ordered Senn to pay $1,846 in restitution for the boarding and veterinarian bills involved in the case. Senn was also ordered to pay a $250 fine and $233 in court costs.

Mathis said as part of the sentence ordered by the court, upon payment of the restitution Senn will get six of the dogs back. But as a condition of him getting the dogs back, Mathis said investigators will be allowed to periodically check on their welfare.

"If we find those dogs are being mistreated we have the right to seize them again," Mathis said. "We take animal cruelty cases very serious. We will investigate them, and the Dale County District Attorney's Office will prosecute them."

When the dogs were seized, investigators said bones were visible under the skin on some of the dogs as they ran around the property. Water for the dogs appeared darkened with dirt and leaves, and some empty bags of dog food were found nearby.

Mathis said eight of the dogs originally seized remain held at the Ozark Animal Shelter, and are up for adoption. He also said one of the dogs was returned to another area resident, who was its original owner.

Mathis called the seizure the largest by the department in at least four years.

Attorney Terry Bullard, who represented Senn in court, said his client had picked up some of the dogs at a garbage dump site, and had been trying to nurse them back to health.

"He had another dog that he'd lost hunting that was in bad shape too," Bullard said. "The rest of the dogs were alive. They were skinny, but were working dogs. He hunted with them."

Bullard said there wasn't anything wrong with some of the dogs.

"I wouldn't have represented him if I thought he'd have mistreated the dogs," Bullard said. "This is the first time I've ever known for them to let them have any of the dogs back."
Source: - Nov 17, 2011
Update posted on Nov 17, 2011 - 11:10PM 
The Dale County Sheriff's office has made an arrest in an animal cruelty case from last week.

Joey D. Senn, 38, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Ariton.

Last week, more than 20 dogs were seized from Senn's home. Authorities say the animals didn't have any food and that any available water was filled with dirt and leaves.

Senn faces up to 21 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he would face up to 10-and-a-half years in prison.

Senn is released from the dale county jail tonight on $21,000 bond.
Source: - Oct 26, 2011
Update posted on Oct 28, 2011 - 8:59AM 
Dale County authorities are looking for an Ariton man wanted on nearly two-dozen animal cruelty charges.

Chief Dale County Sheriff's Investigator Harvey Mathis said 21 warrants for misdemeanor animal cruelty were filed against Joey Senn on Monday.

Dale County Sheriff's deputies seized 21 dogs from Senn's residence on Dale County Road 122 last week. Mathis said two of the dogs died over the weekend at the Ozark dog pound.

"At this point we're looking for him," Mathis said.

The dogs seized by deputies varied in breed, Mathis said. They included some pit bulls and hunting dogs. He said the remaining 19 dogs had received treatment from a local veterinarian.

Investigators told a Dothan Eagle reporter that bones were visible under the skin on some of the dogs as they ran around the property. Water for the dogs appeared darkened with dirt and leaves, and some empty bags of dog food were found nearby.

Mathis called the seizure the largest by the department in at least four years.

Court records indicate Senn pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of a coyote in 2008 in Dale County about a year after he was arrested by officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Records indicate the court ordered him to pay a $50 fine for that charge.
Source: - Oct 24, 2011
Update posted on Oct 28, 2011 - 8:47AM 


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