Local News

Animal Rights Group Sues Owner of Seized Dogs

Posted October 31, 2007 11:39 a.m. EDT
Updated October 31, 2007 1:28 p.m. EDT

— An animal rights group on Wednesday filed suit against a Wake County woman from whose home authorities seized more than 100 dogs.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking a court order that would prevent Janie Conyers, 77, from regaining ownership of the dogs and would bar her from owning other animals for 10 years.

Wake County Animal Control officers seized 112 dogs, primarily toy poodles, and eight birds from Conyers' home at 8252 Holly Springs Road on Oct. 19. A woman looking to breed her poodle had reported filthy and crowded conditions to authorities.

An animal cruelty investigator found animal waste accumulated on the surfaces of the animal housing and that the residence was "heavily infested with cockroaches" and rodent feces, as well as strong smells of ammonia and an infestation of bugs, according to a search warrant.

The lawsuit also alleges that several dogs had burns on their skin from continual contact with urine and feces, had developed eye disease and body infections and were missing teeth from lack of dental care. Many dogs were malnourished, according to the suit.

Authorities have not filed any charges against Conyers.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund argued in filing the suit, however, that she shouldn't regain custody of the dogs and birds because her "callous and indifferent lack of consideration of the health and welfare of the animals in her ownership and possession" continues to pose a threat to the animals.

"Based on the advanced stage of disease in these animals, (Conyers) has also demonstrated an inability to care for any animals. The evidence of this long and broad history of abuse proves (she) should no longer be entitled to be in the possession of dogs," the suit states.

Wake County and animal cruelty investigator Dr. Kelli Ferris, a veterinarian with North Carolina State University, joined in the suit, seeking to recover the cost of caring for the animals seized from Conyers' home. A news release issued Wednesday by the Animal Legal Defense Fund estimated immediate veterinary expenses topping $70,000.