Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19657
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012

County: Chatham

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Kirby Eugene Campbell

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Animal control officers have filed charges against a Savannah man after finding 19 dogs abandoned in his home.

Gena Sullivan, Savannah-Chatham police spokeswoman, said officers were sent to a house on 6902 Howard Foss Drive after a neighbor called Animal Control. She walked in the neighborhood and had noticed a bad smell and did not think anyone had lived in the house for some time, but could hear dogs barking.

Over a span of a week or two police officers had responded to the home a couple of times. They discovered a dead animal in a wood line near the residence and assumed the smell the neighbor was complaining about was coming from it. On Tuesday, Animal Control officers responded to the residence and could see the conditions inside of the house because the dogs had ripped the curtains down.

It was obvious to them nobody was living there.

A notice was placed on the door by Animal Control giving the owner 24 hours to respond. When they did not, officers contacted the owner of the property. He in turn gave them the name of the tenant, Kirby Campbell, who was contacted and gave police permission to enter the residence.

Once inside, officers found 10 dead dogs in different states of decomposition. Some were just skeletal remains, and there was evidence the dogs were forced to eat each other to survive.

Nine of the dogs were removed from the house and taken to the emergency clinic to be evaluated. The dogs that were able to be medically released have been taken to Animal Control and will be evaluated for adoption. After a request by Animal Control to come to police headquarters, Campbell did so and was arrested on numerous charges.

He has been charged with state charges of 10 counts of felony aggravated cruelty, nine counts of cruelty to animals, 19 counts of abandonment. City ordinance citations include one count of keeping of animals sanitation, one count of distance of animal ( too many animals), and 19 counts of no shots, no tags.

Campbell was transported to the Chatham County jail.

This is an ongoing investigation and more dogs may be found, Sullivan said.


Case Updates

A Savannah man today pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in return for a 12-month jail sentence in connection with the April discovery of 10 dead dogs in his Howard Foss Drive apartment.

Kirby Campbell, 50, of 6902 Howard Foss Drive, also must serve an additional 12 months on probation, pay a $500 fine and perform 240 months of community service under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

He will get credit for all time served in the Chatham County jail since his arrest on April 26.

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Sneh Patel told Chatham County Recorder's Court Chief Judge Tammy Stokes the original charges of felony animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty did not fit the evidence.

He said prosecutors were reducing the felonies to fit the evidence and in line with the General Assembly's intent in such cases.

The remaining misdemeanor and ordinance violations against Campbell merged with the animal cruelty offenses, Patel said.

"Mr. Campbell will not be allowed to own pets," as part of the negotiated plea-sentence, Patel said.

In addition to the 12-month jail term, Campbell must serve another 12 months on probation, pay a $500 fine and perform 240 hours of community service. He will also not be allowed to own pets, Patel told the court.

Prosecutors said Campbell owned 20 dogs which he left unattended for several months locked in his apartment. Nine of those died and the remainder resorted to cannibalism to fend for themselves, Patel said.

Savannah-Chatham Animal Control officers found the animals in what they described as filthy conditions on April 25.

Campbell, who lives elsewhere in Savannah, gave police no explanation for the number of animals in the apartment nor the conditions in which they were left, police said.

Animal control officers wanted Campbell prosecuted on felony - not misdemeanor - offenses, but prosecutors disagreed.
Source: Savannah Now
Update posted on May 23, 2012 - 8:39PM 
"It was the most horrific thing I have ever seen."

Lt Brenda Boulware is referring to what she saw at this home on Howard Foss Drive in Savannah.

10 dogs found dead. The 9 still living starved and dehydrated.

"The other animals that were still alive were trying to survive and were eating some of the other deceased animals," explains Boulware.

The man accused, Kirby Campbell, charged with ten felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

As head of Savannah Chatham Metro PD Animal Control, Boulware feels it best fit the severity of the crime. But Chatham County's District Attorney's Office sees it differently. It has reduced the felony charges to misdemeanors.

"I am frustrated yes. I couldn't get an answer. We were not included in the process of why it was reduced to a misdemeanor," says Boulware.

Boulware says it will change the way animal control charges individuals in future cases.

"Rather than charging them with a misdemeanor we might charge them with citations. Then that way the cases will be handled rather quickly and the fines can be up to 1000 dollars per count."

Boulware also points out city citations can carry jail time.

Still, Boulware admits she is concerned about the message the D.A. is sending by reducing Campbell's charges: abuse animals and all you get is a slap on the wrist.

But Boulware remains steadfast.

"We are going to pursue you with great diligence and you will be standing in front of a judge and answer to the charges one way or another."

The District Attorney's Office told News Three they are not providing any further details until tomorrow morning when Campbell is scheduled to appear in court.
Source: WSAV
Update posted on May 22, 2012 - 9:46PM 

References

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