Wilson, N.C. — A Wilson couple who had more than two dozen large-breed dogs removed from their property last week plan to fight animal cruelty charges, their attorney said Tuesday.
Wilson County deputies and three animal welfare groups removed 28 Great Danes, Mastiffs and Dobermans from outdoor kennels behind a mobile home on Evansdale Road last Thursday.
Some of the dogs seized were painfully thin, while others had wounds, scars, and infections. Authorities say the dogs were not given proper veterinary care.
Breeders Cyndi and Joe Williams were each charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty. Their court date was set for Oct. 8.
Attorney Will Farris has filed a motion asking that an independent veterinarian evaluate the dogs and seeking the return of the 19 dogs that aren't alleged to have been the victims of cruelty.
The motion says the dogs represent a substantial portion of the Williamses' inventory as breeders, and their seizure will cause the couple economic hardship. They're asking for a court hearing this week.
Sixteen of the seized dogs were sent to the SPCA of Wake County and the other 12 to the Great Dane Rescue Alliance. None of the dogs will be put up for adoption until the court cases against the Williamses are resolved, officials said.
"We remain disappointed that this appears to have been a carefully contrived publicity stunt by law enforcement and others, but remain committed to having our voice heard in the court of justice," Farris said in an email to WRAL News.
Kim Alboum, state director of the Humane Society, said she is "confident" about the criminal charges against the Williamses.
"The long term neglect of these animals was incredibly sad," Alboum said.
The Wilson County sheriffs office declined to comment.
The court filings show a Wilson County deputy has been working with the Williamses since 2009 to improve conditions at their kennel and that the couple surrendered six other dogs in poor condition to county animal control last month.