Wilson, N.C. — Animal cruelty charges were dismissed Tuesday against a Wilson couple who had more than two dozen large-breed dogs removed from their property last month.
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 on Aug. 23, and breeders Cyndi and Joe Williams were each charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty.
A judge dismissed the charges after ruling the search of the property was improper, according to Calley Gerber, an attorney for Great Dane Rescue Alliance, which has filed a civil suit against the Williamses.
Court filings show a Wilson County deputy had 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 in July. The deputy didn't find any criminal wrongdoing at the kennel in July but used the surrender of the dogs as probable cause for the August raid, according to documents.
Sixteen of the seized dogs were sent to the SPCA of Wake County and the other 12 to the Great Dane Rescue Alliance.
Great Dane Rescue Alliance is using the civil suit to gain custody of all 28 dogs and any offspring so they can be put up for adoption, as well as a court order prohibiting the Williamses from acquiring any more dogs.