Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5599
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, Sep 22, 2005

County: Robeson

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Donald Allen Scott

Case Updates: 6 update(s) available

Charges are still pending in an animal cruelty investigation that led to the seizure of nearly 100 dogs on Sept 22, 2005.

Animal Cruelty Investigator Bryon Lashley said that charges will be filed against Maxton resident Don Scott on Sept 26 after the paperwork for the charges is reviewed. Any charges against Scott would be misdemeanors, Lashley said.

The dogs were seized after neighbors complained to the county Health Department about how Scott was caring for them. Most of the dogs were small, pedigreed breeds, many in poor health with mange or eye infections and some in filthy surroundings. Some of the dogs had to be taken to a local veterinarian for treatment.

Investigators said Scott was running a puppy mill, breeding the animals for profit at his 144 Kalyn Drive home. Thursday, Scott claimed that he had only 55 dogs and refused to comment to a reporter.

The Robesonian and Investigator Katherine Floyd were flooded with calls from concerned residents wishing to adopt the dogs, but Floyd stressed that the animals are not available for adoption, nor can they be put down, until a judge makes a decision on the case. The dogs are currently being held on a court order, but unless a judge rules otherwise they still belong to Scott.


Case Updates

A District Court judge on Friday ordered Don Scott to pay nearly $40,000 after finding him guilty last week of mistreating dogs.

Scott, of Maxton, plans to appeal Judge Greg Bell's decision. Because of the appeal, Scott's pedigree breeds - including English bulldogs, Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, cocker spaniels and pugs - will remain in the custody of the county.

"... When a case is appealed everything is put on hold," said Katherine Floyd, a county animal cruelty officer. "No animal can be adopted right now and the animals I have in foster care will remain there until this gets through Superior Court."

Bell ordered Scott to pay restitution for the care of the 42 dogs that have been at the county animal shelter since Scott was charged in September. The rest of the dogs are being kept in foster care and with pet rescue groups. Bell said Scott will have to pay $32,026 to the Robeson County pound and $6,478.33 to reimburse the county's Animal Cruelty Division for veterinary bills.

Prosecutors, in getting a conviction, argued that Scott did not provide his dogs with sufficient food, water and living conditions. They said he gave the dogs drinking water green with algae and that the animals lived in their own feces. Many of the dogs were emaciated and suffered with parasites, fleas, sores and other skin conditions, the state said.

Before the judge handed down his sentence, Assistant District Attorney Jon Stieber urged Bell not to return the dogs to Scott.

"Our only concern now is the care of these dogs, where they're kept and the conditions they're kept in," Stieber said.

Scott's defense attorney, John Wishart Campbell, argued that the case had been procedurally flawed. "There's no way you could produce a judgment on the evidence presented," Campbell said.

About 10 of Scott's relatives and friends wore white T-shirts that read "Don Denied Due Process" on the front. The shirts depicted a Doberman on the back.

Bell found Scott's brother, Bruce, in contempt of court after he jumped up to leave the courtroom before the hearing was over. He was jailed until 5 p.m. on Friday.

"The judgment's unfair, there's no judgment as far as we're concerned," said Paul Bryant, Don Scott's brother-in-law.
Source: The Robesonian - March 13, 2006
Update posted on Mar 16, 2006 - 1:04AM 
Despite a trial that had several starts and stops over five weeks, when testimony had ended, it took a judge only a few minutes to find a Maxton man guilty of animal cruelty.

District Court Judge Greg Bell deliberated for several minutes on Friday before siding with the state and determining Scott had mistreated 92 dogs. Bell is expected to sentence Scott on Thursday. Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. That day he is also expected to determine what happens with the dogs.

The judge said he wanted a run down of how much it costs to care for the dogs since they were seized in September. The county's portion came to about $32,000, but that does not include medical and shelter expenses for the animals that were not housed at the county shelter in St. Pauls.

Scott declined to comment after the verdict was announced. He has 10 days to appeal.

"I'm pleased that justice has prevailed," Katherine Floyd, the county animal cruelty officer, said. "These animals have been in limbo for five months. I want to thank the community for all their support in fostering the animals."

Assistant District Attorney Jon Stieber argued that Scott did not provide his dogs with adequate food, water and living conditions. Stieber said pictures taken of Scott's property and several witnesses proved improper treatment.

Scott raised and sold such pedigree breeds as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, poodles, Scottish terriers, Boston terriers, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, cocker spaniels, mini Doberman pinschers and pugs.

The state contended Scott gave the dogs drinking water green with algae and that the animals lived in their own feces piled as high as 4 inches. He also said several of the dogs were emaciated. Many of the dogs suffered with parasites, fleas, sores and other skin conditions, the state said.

"What this is really about is the convenience of Mr. Scott," Stieber said. "His concern is that he is going to lose money, not about the welfare of the animals."

Testimony showed that the dogs were kept in make-shift rabbit cages with chicken wire, rusted metal pens attached to the side of an abandoned mobile home and under a barn shelter.

Scott testified last week that many of the dog's problems were common ailments. He said his dogs were adequately housed and that he gave them fresh water every day.

"It looks worse than it is, you can take a picture and make it say anything you want," he said. "It's virtually impossible to keep them clean, most of the dogs would jump in their bucket of water. Those were young dogs, so when they ran and played they smeared their crap."

Scott said each of the dogs was an investment and that the market value ranged from $250 for the Chihuahua breed to as much as $3,500 for the French bulldog. He said he sold 25 to 30 dogs last year until his place of business was raided and shut down September.

"This is my livelihood," he said. "It's my intention to try and build my business back up. If there's any pins that are not up to par, then I'm willing to fix that."

Scott's lawyer, John Wishart Campbell, argued that his client has lost income because of the allegations against him. Campbell also argued that the state's case was filled clerical errors. He said that Floyd never turned over an official stamped inventory to the clerk's office as required.

Bell dismissed charges that Scott had failed to vaccinate his dogs for rabies after Campbell argued that the state didn't present any evidence to support that charge..

The trial was moved out of Lumberton and to Maxton at the request of Campbell. Testimony was spread over three Fridays, the first being on Jan. 27.
Source: The Robesonian - March 6, 2006
Update posted on Mar 6, 2006 - 8:29AM 
A veterinarian testified Friday that one of the dogs in an animal cruelty case suffered from the worst case of skin fungus he had ever seen.

Tom Pejsa, a Raleigh vet, was one of five people to take the stand in the trial of Don Scott who is accused of mistreating his 92 dogs and failing to vaccinate them.

District Court Judge Greg Bell continued the case until Feb. 10 at 11:30 a.m.

Prosecutors argued that Scott ran a puppy mill at his 144 Kalyn Drive home near Maxton with little concern for the animals' welfare.

Testifying for the state, Pejsa said the three dogs he treated suffered from parasites, skin infections and one had infections in both her eyes.

"It's probably the most severe case of mange I've ever seen," Pejsa said of a black French bulldog.

Pejsa said the mange, a type of skin infection caused a lot of inflammation and damage to the dog's skin. He said the dog also suffered a wound to the pad of his paw after a nail had grown so long it curled into a circle and pierced the paw.

Pejsa described one dog as "quite thin with its ribs and spine sticking up" and whose eyes were severely diseased. Pejsa also described the three dogs as suffering from heartworms, hair loss, and parasites. Pejsa also testified there were surgical scars on a female dog he treated.

"One is blind and had Glaucoma the other eye had an infected ulcer," Pejsa said.

Pejsa agreed during cross examination by John Wishart Campbell, Scott's defense lawyer, that the conditions the dogs suffered were prone to occur in bull dogs. Scott raised such pedigree breeds as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, poodles, Scottish terriers, Boston terriers, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, cocker spaniels, mini Doberman pinschers and pugs.

Cassy Peterson, of Garner, who had taken in a female French bulldog, told the court she got the animal just in time. Peterson is a volunteer with French bulldog rescue, a national organization that fosters animals.

"If she'd been untreated she would've died," Peterson said. "The worst cases were as bad if not worse than any case I've seen. They're all being cared for and learning how to be pets."

Katherine Floyd, a Robeson County animal cruelty officer, testified that there were 15 to 20 buckets of dirty water with algae growing in it on Scott's property.

She said the dogs were kept in make-shift rabbit cages with chicken wire, rusted metal pens attached to the side of an abandoned mobile home and under a barn shelter.

Floyd said many of the dogs lived in their own feces as much as 4 inches deep.

Lumberton veterinarian Timothy Staudt testified that when he examined about 60 of Scott's dogs at the Robeson County animal shelter a few days after they were seized that most were in good health, but suffered from parasites.

"There were several that were pretty bad off," Staudt said. "There was a Scottish terrier that had so much lice on it, it was like someone had poured snow on it. Imagine having about 2 to 3,000 bugs crawling on you and you can't do anything about it."

Staudt said Scott was a client at Southeastern Veterinary Hospital, but that he didn't know Scott had that many dogs or if they had all been properly vaccinated for rabies.

"He has brought dogs into the clinic and I don't know how many dogs he had," Staudt said. "I knew he was a breeder. "
Source: The Robesonian - Feb 1, 2006
Update posted on Feb 1, 2006 - 5:37PM 
To send a polite letter to the prosecutor in this case, write to:

Jon Stieber, Assistant District Attorney
District Attorney's Office, Prosecutorial District 16B
500 N. Elm St., Box 19
Lumberton, NC 28358
Update posted on Jan 25, 2006 - 3:31PM 
The trial of Don Scott, accused of abusing nearly 100 dogs was continued on Tuesday and now will be held in Maxton. Scott, of 144 Kalyn Drive, was also charged with more than 60 counts of failure to vaccinate for rabies. Investigators have said Scott was running a puppy mill, breeding the animals for profit.

The trial was continued until Nov. 18 after a request by Scott's lawyer, John Wishart Campbell, to move the trial to Maxton was granted by the District Attorney's Office.

"Where the incident has alleged to have occurred, it's supposed to take place in that district unless it's a felony, then it's in Lumberton," Campbell said. "It should have been set in Maxton in the first place. It's a question of proper venue."

Katherine Floyd, a Robeson County animal cruelty officer, said she was disappointed because she had 12 people lined up to testify.

Most of the dogs were small, pedigree breeds, many with mange or eye infections. Floyd has said the animals were kept in unsanitary conditions.

Floyd said the continuance will increase the cost of caring for the animals that were seized from Scott's home.
Source: The Robesonian - Oct 27, 2005
Update posted on Oct 27, 2005 - 10:07PM 
A man accused of neglecting nearly 100 dogs has claimed innocence and said all the dogs in his care were healthy. Don Scott faces 92 counts of animal cruelty, 67 counts of failure to vaccinate and possible jail time in what some veterinarians called one of the worst cases of animal cruelty in Robeson County history.

"I want a fair shake," Scott said. "I've had animals my entire life, and I just feel like I've been violated."

Animal cruelty investigators seized the small breed dogs from Scott's Robeson County puppy mill. Some of them had lice, ingrown toenails and badly-scarred eyes, veterinarians said.

"People should know better. There's no excuse," one veterinarian said.

Scott and dozens of family members defend his actions, saying the dogs were healthy and taken care of.

Scott used a trailer as a nursery. The female dogs would give birth inside and use pens to relieve themselves. Scott said he sees nothing filthy or inappropriate with the operation.

"I'm not saying it was perfect, but it was safe. I have had animals my entire life. I love animals," Scott said.

Now, the dogs' fate is up to a judge.

Scott said the reason he did not vaccinate his animals was that he did not know he was required to do so. He also said that if he is allowed to continue breeding, he will likely scale back his operation.

A court date has been set for Oct. 25.
Source: NBC 17 - Sept 28, 2005
Update posted on Sep 29, 2005 - 9:38PM 

References

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