UPDATED OCTOBER 17 A comment listed below has stated Ferguson had someone who paid his fine to prevent him from going to jail. Apparently there are people out there who approve of how the dogs were treated and didn't want Ferguson to serve additional time. If anyone knows the name of this "someone" please do not list it in the comments as that person will likely face death threats. It's happened numerous times on articles I've written where the name was released.
More than 150 dogs were seized from Fountain Inn, SC resident Dale Ferguson on June 20, all in deplorable condition. Abby's Animal Angels rescued 16 of them, including two severely abused Pomeranians, and spent thousands of dollars getting them healthy and ready for homes.
This is the same URL and phone number used by Ferguson at the time of the puppy mill raid. Ferguson now allegedly has new puppies available for sale at this website. The puppies are listed as being CKC registered and are $400.
There's even a "buy now" button on the website that allows a person to put down a deposit on a puppy. What kind of screening process is that? Legitimate breeders screen potential adopters to be sure their dogs get a responsible owner. Buy now belongs on eBay-NOT for finding homes for puppies.
Abby's Animal Angels wasn't the only rescue to save these puppy mill dogs. Day Before the Rainbow and many other upstate rescues, volunteers, Greenville County Animal Care Services staff and those wanting to adopt these poor dogs all banded together and saved them.
Ferguson was charged with five counts of animal cruelty. Greenville County Animal Control officers say the animals were found skinny and with no shelter or water, in "filthy living condition." Some of the dogs were found mangy. Many have eye infections, while unfortunately others were found dead. Cages and trash covered the back yard of the home, which is common in a suspected hoarding/puppy mill situation.
Dale Ferguson went before the judge on July 26, where he faced charges, including hoarding animals and having a puppy mill. He was also charged with three counts of not displaying a rabies tag and one count of improper disposal of a dead animal. Many members of the various rescues who stepped in to save these dogs also attended the hearing.
Ferguson enter an Alford plea, which means the defendant admits sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He did not have an attorney. Since Ferguson was unable to pay the $6,270 fine, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Apparently Ferguson wasn't given any special requirements saying he couldn't get his "dogs for sale" business back up and running after his incarceration. Will this latest endeavor turn into another puppy mill tragedy? That remains to be seen.
This is a total lack of judicial control concerning someone who has shown what happens when an irresponsible person breeds dogs and then allows them to get in the condition most of the dogs in June were rescued in. Ferguson isn't someone who got in over his head trying to help dogs. He's doing this for profit, and will likely be back in the spotlight with similar charges before this is over.
To be allowed to resume "business as usual" is a slap in the face for everyone who worked so hard to save the last 140+ dogs taken from his property. Can anyone answer as to why no limitations were put in place so Ferguson could never, ever do this to an animal again?
The law most likely doesn't consider Ferguson selling dogs again as being in violation of any codes. After all, he did his time and is now a free man again. But shouldn't taxpayers for Greenville County be warned that their tax dollars may one day have to clean up another mess left by a puppy mill? In Ferguson's case, all we can do is wait and see.
Your comments are welcome.
Sources saying Ferguson would serve 90 days in jail