Local News

Court ruling puts some Wake SPCA adoptions on hold

Posted April 2, 2012 6:30 p.m. EDT

— A judge has given ownership of 88 dogs seized last month from a suspected puppy mill at a rural Jones County property back to the property owners, Wake County SPCA officials said Monday.

The SPCA, the Guilford County Animal Shelter and a veterinarian's office where one dog remains hospitalized had planned to put the animals up for adoption, but the judge's ruling puts those plans on hold indefinitely.

The Jones County couple has been charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty.

“The owners say they were not operating a puppy mill, but no matter if it’s termed a puppy mill or animal hoarding, either way the law was being broken," SPCA spokeswoman Mondy Lamb said in a statement. "What is not up for debate is the conditions the dogs were living in, which were inhumane and which were documented by the law enforcement officials. When this case goes to court, this evidence will be presented. Until then, our most pressing concern is the health of the dogs."

Not having ownership of the dogs puts the SPCA in an awkward position because more than a third of the seized dogs are either receiving antibiotics to fight infections or pain medications, officials said. Technically, the SPCA cannot provide medical care to the animals if it doesn't have ownership of them.

The hold impacts incoming pets to the SPCA shelter as well, Lamb said.

“Because we had planned on adopting them all out this week, it does hinder our ability to take in additional animals," she said. "We are organizing some possible solutions to this dilemma."