Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18804
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Monday, Nov 7, 2011

County: Garland

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Pam Thomas

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, at the request of the Garland County Sheriff's Office, is managing the evidence collection and sheltering of more than 100 dogs living in a substandard commercial breeding facility - commonly known as a puppy mill - in Hot Springs.

A search warrant was executed Monday morning for the removal of the dogs, and the animals are being transported to a nearby emergency shelter where they will receive medical care and treatment. The ASPCA is also collecting evidence for the investigation as well as lending the services of its veterinary forensics teams, led by Dr. Rhonda Windham, medical director of the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team.

The owner of the puppy mill facility, Pam Thomas, has been arrested and charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty.

Garland County Sheriff's Investigator, Cpl. Angela Graybeal, began a criminal investigation in 2009 after allegations of health issues and charges had been brought against Ms. Thomas, owner of the Happy Times Kennel at 210 Barbershop Drive, also known as Rainbow Kennel and Spa City Pets, for violation of the Rabies Control Act.

During the two year investigation, Investigator Graybeal received numerous complaints regarding the living conditions, medical issues and mistreatment of more than 100 animals housed on the property. The Garland County Sheriff's Office was able to determine that Thomas was operating a puppy mill through undercover visits and purchases, with support from the Garland County Humane Society, which connected investigators with the ASPCA for assistance.

The dogs - mainly small breeds such as Chihuahuas, West Highland white terriers, Boston terriers and dachshunds - were discovered living in feces-encrusted pens and deplorable conditions on the property. Many of the dogs exhibited various signs of neglect and appear to have severe skin problems and flea infestation, among other medical conditions.

The ASPCA is assessing and treating each animal by utilizing its fully equipped Northeast "Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit," a specially-designed vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art forensics tools and medical equipment tailored for animal patients. Additionally, the ASPCA's custom-built animal transport trailer is also being utilized to help transfer animals to the emergency shelter.

More than 30 responders are on the scene, including staff and volunteers from IFAW, which is providing sheltering services and assisting with evidence collection; PetSmart Charities, which is providing much-needed supplies and helping set up the emergency shelter; and volunteers from the Garland County Humane Society, who will be assisting with the daily care of the animals housed at the temporary shelter.

"Upon learning of the deplorable conditions these animals were subjected to, IFAW took immediate action to help protect them from further suffering," said Shannon Walajtys, IFAW Emergency Relief officer. "IFAW works around the world to ensure that dogs live in healthy conditions and we are dismayed to encounter, yet again, such appalling conditions here in the U.S."

"Our Emergency Relief Waggin' program offers assistance to animal victims, like these dogs, who need immediate care and attention," added Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities. "Some of these dogs will experience, for the first time, what it's like to be well fed, clean and comfortable. Our hope is that the pets rescued from cruelty cases, low-quality breeders and hoarders can be rehabilitated and placed into the caring homes they deserve."

Tim Rickey, senior director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response added, "With the support and collaboration of these agencies, the ASPCA is able to continue its life-saving work in the field. We truly appreciate our partnership with these national animal welfare groups to rescue animals like these from inhumane conditions."


Case Updates

A Garland County woman accused of running a puppy mill has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Earlier this month, Channel Seven reported authorities recovered 175 dogs from a Happy Times Kennel owned by Pam Thomas.

During a court appearance Wednesday, Thomas formally agreed to give up the dogs. Since they were seized, 8 new puppies have been born at the undisclosed location. The Garland County Sheriff's Department brought in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help take care of the dogs.

Thomas faces three counts of animal cruelty charges. If convicted, she could face up to six years in prison on each count. A review hearing in this case has been set for January 31.

The dogs will be available for adoption after they're nursed back to health. Many of the small breed dogs were malnourished, neglected, had skin issues, hair loss, severe fleas, mites and disease when authorities showed up with a search warrant November 7.
Source: katv.com - Nov 24, 2011
Update posted on Nov 24, 2011 - 12:42PM 

References


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