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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012County: Wayne
» Timothy Jefcoat
» Michelle Jefcoat
Two Wayne County residents have been ordered to pay more than $13,000 in fines and restitution regarding the seizure of several animals at their home in the Beat Four Community of Wayne County.
The Wayne County Sheriff's Department investigated the case involving the care of animals - nine horses and 16 dogs - at a Wayne County residence.
Following the investigation, a couple - Timothy Jefcoat, 38, and Michelle Jefcoat, 39, both of 128 Boyles Road in Waynesboro - were arrested by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department in February and charged with eight counts of animal cruelty.
During the sheriff's department's investigation, Southern Pines Animal Shelter of Hattiesburg and Trails End Horse Heaven responded to the residence to check the care of the animals being kept at the home.
Katherine Sammons, assistant manager at Southern Pines Animal Shelter, said her agency responded to the Beat Four residence and found a total of "16 dogs at the residence - 11 of them were Dachshunds, one Pit Bull, a Golden Retriever, a Chihuahua and two small puppies - and they were breeding and selling the puppies.".
"The animals were being cared for by a 19-year-old female whose parents had left the area and working out of state," Sammons said. "She was in way over her head. Animals were in crates and there was extreme overcrowding. The animals we took were all infested with ear mites."
Sammons said the agency took eight of the 11 Dachshunds because of their health conditions.
"They had severe tooth and gum disease, abrasions on their feet from being kept in a kennel that was not clean," she explained.
Sammons said the Dachshunds taken into custody by the shelter are being cared for by the shelter. She said the animals have made a full recovery from their health issues.
Timothy and Michelle Jefcoat appeared in Wayne County Justice Court in Waynesboro on February 16th in connection with the criminal charges.
The couple pled guilty to one count each of animal cruelty.
Wayne County Justice Court Judge Charles Chapman heard the case and ordered the couple to pay $13,151 ($6,575.50 each) in fines and restitution for the care of the animals.
Sammons said Tuesday that during the court proceedings, the owners relinquished their rights to the animals. Since the court proceedings are completed, she said, the adoption process is underway.
"We are taking applications for adoption now for the dogs we have in custody," Sammons said. "The applications are on the first come, first-serve bases."
As of Tuesday, Sammons said, six of the eight dogs seized have been adopted. She said the other two Dachshunds are available for adoption.
Anyone wanting to adopt one of the animals or needing to check and see if their lost animal has been found are asked to call the shelter at 601-544-6632.
Sammons said one of the main problems animal shelter workers are observing is "people are not spaying and neutering their pets. We service about 10,000 animals a year."
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