Former dog breeder facing animal cruelty charges

Posted at: 04/16/2013 10:39 PM
Updated at: 04/16/2013 10:41 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Another person who should know about caring for dogs is now facing animal cruelty charges.

Earlier this month, authorities in Edgewood discovered nearly 50 dogs at a former veterinarian’s home. Now, it’s a former show dog breeder in Torrance County.

The Torrance County Sheriff’s Office says it’s one of the worst cases they’ve seen.

It actually began when the sheriff’s office served a search warrant on the home related to recent home burglaries.

Deputies ended up finding stolen items and dozens of dogs in deplorable conditions.

Now a former licensed breeder faces 74 animal cruelty related charges.

Word travels fast in McIntosh. But some residents still can’t believe the allegations leveled against Dee Dee’s Kennel.

"I am shocked because I thought they were better people than that," said neighbor April Harvey.

Shannon Johnson cared for, trained and sold dozens of Chihuahuas used in dog shows at her home on Highway 41.

"There was a strong smell of death…multiple carcasses," said Torrance County Sheriff Heath White.

Even White was taken aback by what he found inside the home about three weeks ago.

"This is a deceased dog," said White pointing at a picture of a dog lying on the ground.

”There's five, six plus dogs per deal here and there's about one or two dead dogs per kennel," said White pointing at another picture.

"This is a dead puppy that they were, the other dogs were using as a toy," he said.

Deputies found 58 dogs in all.

White says some were crammed inside a double wide, others lived in filthy conditions outside, and some were eating dog carcasses.

One picture shows a dead dog tossed in the garbage can.

"All of them were so diseased that most of them had to be euthanized on scene," said White.

All but five were put down.

Torrance County says Johnson did in fact have a breeder's permit allowing her to have several dogs on her property. But, that is just up until two years ago. It’s not clear whether her permit was suspended or she did not renew it.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 tried asking the family, but the questions were met with a finger gesture.

A teenager who says she is Johnson’s daughter says her mom was not abusing the dogs.

Next door neighbor April Harvey says there was a time when the dogs were in good shape.

"It makes me sad because if she would have asked for a little bit of help I could've helped her," said Harvey.

Harvey says Johnson has been depressed since her husband died in December.

The sheriff’s office says they also found stolen items inside the home and believe Johnson’s two sons are involved.

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