Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19269
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Judge(s): Tammy Stokes

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Sunday, Jan 22, 2012

County: Chatham

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 2 files available

Alleged: Daniel Golden

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The community is coming together to help 71 dogs, found living in a home full of filth.

Animal Control Officers found the dogs in a home on East 33rd Street in Savannah.

Neighbors reported hearing several dogs barking-- that prompted the search and the gruesome discovery.

The owner of the dogs has come forward. He's being identified as Daniel Golden.

Animal Control say he's cooperating, and that he's admitted the situation got out of hand but says he meant no harm to the animals.

"Once we got inside the conditions were deplorable to say the least," explains Animal Control Officer Christina Sutherin.

Dog after dog was pulled from a home East 33rd Street.

"Aside from the smell omitting from the home you would have known what we were about to walk into."

Sutherin and other officers ended up rescuing more than seventy dogs.

"There was one particular room where the dogs had designated it as their restroom area. That is where a majority of the dogs had to be retried from so when you are walking through 2 to 3 feet of dog feces at various stages of decay it tends to be a bit challenging."

Caked in feces and full of fleas the dogs were at least well fed but when taken outside it was obvious for many this was their first breath of fresh air....ever.

"Empathy goes out for the dogs because they have had to be in these conditions and they didn't ask to be put in these conditions. They were making the best of it."

"Poor little things were petrified just totally petrified," says Diane Abolt of Friends of Animal Control Team Savannah.

FACTS is one of many rescue groups working to make sure each and every one of these dogs gets a second chance.

"These animals, none of them are going to euthanized we are going to find homes for them," adds Abolt.

Yet the question remains... how did this happen?

Neighbors say they had called Animal Control several times but nothing was ever done. Lt. Brenda Boulware with Animal Control told News Three this was the first call they'd received to this home.

If you are interested in adopting any of these animals or would like to make a monetary donation here is contact information for Animal Control and the other rescue agencies helping out.

Animal Control is located at 7211 Sally Mood Drive, and is open 7 days a week 1-5 p.m., and 1-6 p.m., on Thursdays. . The phone number is 912-351-6751


To donate money, volunteer or adopt a dog, contact one of the following:

Diane Abolt of Friends of Animal Control Team Savannah at 912-484-4438.

Brooke's Haven Animal Rescue at 25 Buck Island Road in Bluffton at 843-757-7387 or go to

Marantha Farms at 342 Crabapple Lane in Ridgeland at 843-816-6676 or go to

Case Updates

Errant dog owner Daniel Golden on Monday was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation as part of the resolution of ordinance violations stemming from 71 dogs pulled from his rental home last month.

Chatham County Recorder's Court Judge Tammy Stokes also ordered Golden, 43, to remove all of his personal items from the house at 318 E. 33rd St. this week and return to court next week to determine the next steps.

Meanwhile, Stokes also ordered James Butler, who oversees the property for his grandmother, Ganell Butler, to cease and desist renting the property until it is cleaned up and brought into compliance with local building maintenance rules.

The judge's directives followed recommendations from Assistant City Attorney Lester B. Johnson III during a hearing. No fines or jail time were ordered for either Golden or James Butler.

"I just loved the animals," Golden told Stokes, adding they were well kept and well fed. He also told the judge he did not want to give the dogs to just anybody to be abused.

He later said he did not want to own any more animals at present.

Savannah-Chatham Animal Control officials were summoned to the address Jan. 22 and found what were described Monday as "deplorable conditions" surrounding 71 dogs being kept there.

"The house was condemned right on the spot" that day, testified Gloria Butler, a supervisor/inspector with the city property maintenance department.

Golden, who no longer lives in the house, was charged with property maintenance, nuisance, no shots and animal neglect.

Testimony showed the dogs apparently never ventured outside the house, but there was food there and none of the animals appeared to be malnourished or neglected.

Golden "really didn't think at first he had that many dogs," Star Cpl. George Smith, assistant supervisor at Animal Control, told Stokes, adding that Golden apparently did not know where to go for help.

The witness said there was not proof of any medical care for the dogs and that Golden had voluntarily surrendered ownership to Animal Control.

Testimony Monday was that police had not received earlier complaints about the house or its inhabitants.

Officers removed 69 dogs from the home on their first visit, then returned later to rescue two more.
Source: - Feb 7, 2012
Update posted on Feb 10, 2012 - 1:45PM 
Maybe Daniel Golden's heart was in the right place, but the situation inside his tiny East 33rd home got completely out of hand. Golden, 43, was charged with 71 counts of animal neglect Tuesday, one for each of the 71 dogs police on Sunday pulled from the house he was renting.

Golden wasn't arrested. He was charged under city ordinances, given citations and ordered to appear in Chatham County Recorder's Court Feb. 10. Police say he cooperated fully with the investigation, voluntarily coming in for questioning and surrendering the dogs.

"He was trying to take care of them," said Lt. Brenda Boulware, commander of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department's Animal Control Unit. "He was feeding them, but the sanitary conditions that were around there I can't even describe. It was horrific."

The rescue

In addition to the animal neglect charges, Golden was charged with 50 counts of failing to provide his dogs with the appropriate vaccinations, one for each of the dogs more than four months old. He also was charged with violating the city's nuisance and sanitation ordinances.

Wearing face masks smeared with vapor rub, police on Sunday trudged through dog waste piled more than a foot deep in some places, digging into walls, pulling out broken furniture and sorting through mounds of clothing to find the frightened pups.

None of the dogs weighs more than 20 pounds. Some would fit in the palm of your hand. When police opened the door, responding to a noise complaint from a neighbor, the dogs ran for the corners instead of the yard. Boulware doesn't think any of them had ever been outside the 720-square-foot house where they lived with Golden.

It took nine officers more than four hours to pull out 69 dogs Sunday. They'd found creative hiding places, police on the scene said, including an oven drawer. One of the officers was bitten as he reached for a dog and was treated for minor injuries. Hours later, police were called back to the home to get two pups they'd missed.

Although neighbors at the scene said that they had complained about the dogs before, Boulware said police don't have a record of any animal-related calls to 318 East 33rd Street before Sunday.

The home

Golden couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

The house where he was living was condemned Monday, declared unfit for human habitation under the city's nuisance abatement ordinance. Property Maintenance Department administrator Linwood Brown said parts of the floor were caving in.

Ganell Butler said Monday she owns the home, located near Habersham Street, but that her grandson, James Butler III, handles the rental property. James Butler could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Golden faces a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail for each of the 123 ordinance violations with which he's charged and up to $123,000 in fines. But Chatham County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Higgins said a judge can tailor a sentence to Golden's charges, ordering him to pay restitution to the Butlers or do community service .

"It's left to the discretion of the court," she said.

The dogs

Only 10 of the dogs remained at the Savannah-Chatham Animal Control shelter at closing time Tuesday evening. The rest had been adopted or taken by foster care organizations. Police say the shelter had 134 dogs before the Sunday rescue and was well over capacity, but Boulware said community response was "overwhelming."

After being scrubbed down and given a round of shots, the pups are opening up, Boulware said.

"They're very receptive to the love and attention."

Savannah-Chatham police officer Jennifer Meadows was one of three people who adopted one of the rescued dogs Tuesday. She has two dogs already but couldn't resist the big, soft eyes of one lanky pup.

"There were so many of them," Meadows said. "Someone's got to take them."
Source: - Jan 25, 2012
Update posted on Feb 10, 2012 - 1:28PM 


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