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Alleged Georgia puppy mill owner charged with 264 counts of animal cruelty

357 dogs seized from Cherokee County, Georgia
357 dogs seized from Cherokee County, Georgia
11Alive Atlanta

11Alive Atlanta reported July 18 that Joy Wise, owner of Heavenly Kennels in Cherokee County, Georgia is charged with 264 counts of animal cruelty.

Cherokee County marshals raided the property off Cumming Highway on Tuesday and found dogs packed into cages, with feces all around many of the dogs.

The dogs were being kept without adequate living space in unsanitary conditions. The sheer number of dogs seized led to the Cherokee County Animal Shelter being shut down on Wednesday to care for the large number of puppies and dogs.

The Cherokee County Animal Shelter reopened Thursday after 357 dogs were rescued from a suspected puppy mill on July 16. The community stepped up to help with a flood of donations once word got out.

Despite not being allowed to see the dogs they'd be helping, people showed up at the shelter with emergency supplies requested by the shelter.

Facebook: Cherokee County Animal Shelter posted a thank you on their page

"Today was Christmas in July at Cherokee County Animal Shelter. The smiling boxes were the first things to be delivered this morning, then a very nice lady arrived with donuts for the staff to munch on. Next, as we opened, people started coming in with checkbooks opened and formed a line for monetary donations. The lobby started filling up and didn't stop!!

The Fed EX and UPS man each made stops with boxes upon boxes of items off the Amazon wish list:

Petsmart employees came with 75 pet beds and toys for the pups donated by Petsmart Charities and the Canton Marketplace store and then stayed to groom for us. THANK YOU Petsmart!

Thank you to EVERYONE for all the support. It is making all the difference in this emergency situation!!"

An Amazon Wishlist is available here, or you can click here to make a cash donation.

It's good to see a person charged on a 'per animal abused' basis. Only one state over in South Carolina, Julianne Westberry was charged with one count of ill treatment of animals and one count of torture, despite 57 cats being found dead in her Belton home when police broke the door down back on June 18.

As in the Westberry case, no warning flags were raised until the situation reached a deadly end. In an interview with CBS46 Atlanta, Mark Murrah, a manager with the Georgia Department of Agriculture said

"They've always found the facility to be in compliance. They have a lot of animals out there which is intimidating for a lot of folks to see, but we have found no overall issues with non-compliance or with the overall health of the animals."

Heavenly Kennel has had a license since 2009, with the most recent inspection done in July of 2013.

Does anyone know whether this is a state where abuse took place issue, or whether harming dogs warrant harsher charges than harming a cat? Please leave a comment if you know the answer.

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