Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19326
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Prosecutor(s): Ricky Bowman

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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2012

County: Stokes

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Dismissed (Conditional)
Case Images: 5 files available

Persons of Interest:
» Willis Mabe
» Lucille Mabe

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

More than 150 dogs were taken from a Stokes County property Tuesday after a raid of an alleged puppy mill.

The raid started around 2 p.m. at Dan River Bullies on Bob Mabe Road in Danbury.

Media was not allowed on the private property, but aerial photos revealed several small, farm-like structures.

Officials with the Humane Society of the United States said the dogs lived on top of each other, had food thrown on the floor next to their feces, were never groomed and had never been vaccinated.

Humane Society officials said it was some the worst living conditions they have seen in some time.

"I'm very ashamed that this happened in my county, and I'm appalled at how the dogs were being kept," said Phil Handy, Stokes County Animal Control officer.

Marsha Williams, director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter, which took in 130 of the animals, said the animals have multiple problems, including eye, skin, and teeth infections.

"There are a number of issues on the surface. Once we do a physical exam, we know we're going to find more problems with these animals," Williams said.

The rest of the animals were taken to Wake County and Charlotte.

Veterinarians said they hope to save all the animals, though several dogs are old and have spent most of their life constantly breeding.

The property is owned by Lucile Mabe, who faces multiple animal cruelty charges.

The site was taken down late Tuesday but listed several breeds for sale for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Breeds included bulldogs, English Bull pups, French Bull pups and Shih Tzu pups.

Williams said puppy mills will continue in North Carolina until state lawmakers toughen their laws.

"There's no law against having a puppy mill or having hundreds of animals on your property. We need to change that and make it stricter, where they're getting inspected and they're required to have medical attention for their animals," Williams said.

Humane Society officials said they received tips about the alleged mill several weeks ago.

More than 150 dogs are being taken from an alleged puppy mill after it was raided Tuesday in Stokes County.

'Dan River Bullies,' which is located at 1560 Bob Mabe Road in Danbury, is owned by Lucile Mabe.

Phillip Handy, chief Stokes County Animal Control officer, said Lucille and Willis Mabe were each charged Thursday morning with 27 counts of animal cruelty. Because the charges are misdemeanors the two were not arrested.

The Mabes will be served papers on March 1 when they meet with the Stokes County district attorney, Handy and their attorney.

Media was not allowed on the private property, although aerial photos revealed several small, farm-like structures. Authorities said the structures housed more than 150 dogs that were seized during the raid, which began around 2 p.m.

Animals on the property were reportedly living in deplorable conditions - the majority of them suffering from some type of ear, nose or dental infection, officials with the U.S. Humane Society said. One official described the scene as "heartbreaking" and said it may be the worst they've seen in North Carolina.

"I'm very ashamed that this happened in my county and I'm appalled at where the dogs were being kept," Animal Control Officer Phil Handy said.

Officials said the dogs lived on top of each other and food was thrown on the floor next to their feces. lists several breeds as being available for sale including bulldogs, English Bull pups, French Bull pups, and Shih Tzu pups.

Both the N.C. and U.S. Humane Societies are helping to care for the animals, which are being transported to animal shelters in Guilford County, Wake County and Charlotte.

The Humane Society received tips about the purported mill several weeks ago, officials said.

Case Updates

A couple suspected of running a puppy mill will have all animal cruelty charges dropped as long as they fulfill an agreement made with the Stokes County district attorney.

According to a news release from Stokes County issued Wednesday, DA Ricky Bowman will dismiss all 27 charges against Willis and Lucille Mabe as long as they don't breed or sell animals for two years.

The agreement also allows the DA to reopen the case for prosecution at any time over those two years, as well as allows Stokes County Animal Control to inspect the couple's property in Danbury during that period.

"We're extremely disappointed with the leniency that was shown to the Mabes," said Mona Triplett with the Stokes County Humane Society.

The Mabes were charged on Feb. 23, about two weeks after more than 150 dogs were seized from Dan River Bullies.

Guilford County Animal Shelter Director Marsha Williams said the animals had multiple problems, including eye, skin, and teeth infections. Williams and volunteers took in more than 100 animals to nurse back to health, while the others went to Wake County and Charlotte.

"We were able to get those animals out of there and get them to safety, and the rest is up to the DA. We did our part. We'd like to see the DA do their part," said Roberta Wall, animal advocate who helped during the Feb. 7 raid.

Hundreds of people overwhelmed the shelter off Wendover Avenue last Monday to try to adopt some of the dogs. In fact, the shelter had to be temporarily closed by the fire marshal to try to clear out some of the crowd.

"I don't pretend to know what was going on in the DA's mind, but I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure they're fair people, and they wanted to see a win-win out of this," said Robin Manley, one of many who reported Dan River Bullies' conditions to the Humane Society of North Carolina.

In fact, Triplett said there has been some benefit from the publicity of the case. More people are calling in tips of suspected animal neglect and abuse.

"Public awareness has reached an all-time high in Stokes County, which, I think, in turn has given the animals a voice that prior to this incident they didn't have," Triplett said.

"The dogs won, because they're in a safe place and they've got their medical care," Manley said.

Before the raid, Lucille Mabe had surrendered 11 dogs in "very poor" physical condition to the Stokes County Animal Shelter, the release said. Local officials became increasingly suspicious of Mabe after she surrendered the dogs, the release said.

The site was taken down shortly after the raid, but it listed several breeds for sale, including bulldogs, English Bull pups, French Bull pups and Shih Tzu pups. Prices for some of the dogs were in the thousands of dollars.
Source: - Mar 7, 2012
Update posted on Mar 8, 2012 - 4:38PM 


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