On Saturday January 29, 2011, an animal advocate was in an area working on rescuing a stray dog from the road when she found the dog whom we now know as Alice. Alice is a bully breed who has been living in a "box" for the past SIX YEARS. There was a wooden box, approx. 5'WX8'LX 4'tall. It was constructed of mostly wooden slats, with maybe an inch gap between some of the boards, and sheets of tin. The top was covered mostly by various sizes of tin and metal sheet, with a small section having field (chicken) wire over it. The door was made of metal/tin and was chained and locked when they first arrived.
What they saw was a very nervous, very apprehensive female Bulldog. She was beautiful, chocolate brown in color, and looked somewhat plump. It was evident that she had had a litter or two...or more...of puppies in her time. The dog did bark and go on the defensive when she first saw them. She had been inside a small plastic box that served as a "dog house" that was attached to one end of the shed. The floor was dirt at one time, but was now covered in a very thick layer of dog feces and a nasty sludge. They saw very runny poop on the ground and on the interior "walls". They could tell that the inside had probably never been cleaned or sanitized. Apparently, all the years of feces had become packed into the dirt by the dog walking on top of it all. The stench was sickening.
They had taken three large dog biscuits with them. When offered to her, the dog stopped her barking and gently took the first from my fingers, then retreated into her "doghouse" portion of her living quarters. When she finished eating the first, she returned to get the second biscuit, not barking when she returned. She eventually came back and got the third treat, took it into her "doghouse" and just laid inside there and looked at them, saving the biscuit for later.
They had returned to the roadside to discuss what could be done. It was then that an elderly African-American man arrived home. They introduced ourselves and explained that we were not there to cause him any problems, but only to check up on the dog in the box. After talking for a while, "Ben" told them that the dog belonged to his son-in-law, who had brought the dog out there to live because "it's a very mean dog". In fact, we were told, that if the dog was running loose while we were there, she most likely would have bitten us. She was, by this man's account, "one of them very mean dogs" (meaning, Bulldog) and that's why he had her in the "kennel" he had built.
They offered to bring the man some dog food and asked if they could get him a chain linked kennel for the dog. While they were all talking, one of the rescuer's mom happened to drive past. The mother just so happen to have some dry dog food with her and offered some to them to give to Ben. They asked if they could feed the dog for him, and he allowed them to do so. When they showed Ben what was inside the bag she had, Ben's words were "I ain't never gave that dog no pellets before". They asked what he fed her and Ben said mostly bread, an occasional honey bun and a few scraps. This dog had never had real dog food in her life. It was then that they asked how long he had had the dog, and Ben told them "about 6 years, since she was a pup". We were flabbergasted! This girl, who Ben also told us he had never even named, had been living this way for nearly 6 years!!! Six years living on basically bread and water, no vaccines, no vet care of any sort.
When they went to pull the food bowl, an inch thick rectangular cake pan, from inside the kennel, they had to pry it loose from the sludge that encased it. The pan was filled with dog feces and dirt from inside the shelter. They cleaned it best they could and filled it with dog food. When this dog saw it, she immediately started eating! But, she didn't finish all the food, apparently never having a full and proper portion of food to eat. They asked if they could also freshen her water, and that's when Ben told us that the rope tied to the 5 gal bucket (see the picture) was there so "when she turned it over, I can get it back up". Apparently, Ben would not ever go into the shelter due to being afraid of the dog, after all, she was "very mean". Ben did open the door for them to get the bucket out, and they cautiously reached inside to get the bucket, not knowing if they were about to get bitten or attacked by this "very mean" dog. They got the bucket out without incident and went to clean the inch thick layer of dirt from the bottom of it and the layer of algae from off the inside walls of it. When they returned with fresh, clean water, the other rescuer was gently rubbing the dog's ears through the slats! This "very mean" dog was leaning on the inside walls, allowing a eprson to love on her!!! They was even allowed, by the dog, to rub and pet her. This dog was so open to human contact, something she apparently had experienced very little of over the years. They never saw any aggression from this beautiful dog. More pictures are attached to this video link, courtesy of Southen Comfort Rescue
****UPDATE PER RESCUE***
During a follow up visit it was determined that the owner of the "dog in the box" is actually Ben's daughter, who provided purchase papers for whom we now know as Alice. The owner saw no problem with how Alice was being cared for and has even claimed that the kennels had been routinely cleaned. Obviously, the photos show different. With an officer present, who was also appalled at the conditions, Southern Comfort Rescue expressed that these were horrible circumstances for a living breathing creature to endure. They also offered veterinary care assitance and housing assitance for Alice. These were declined by the "outraged" owner. Upon further follow up, it has been determined that Alice is now in a chain link kennel with a dog house, although no bedding, nor fresh food or water were present. She has also seen a vet who dewormed and administered a rabies vaccine, but no phsyical exam was proven to be performed nor any routine tests for illnesses that run rampant in the area. The food dish was there, overturned.
Southern Comfort is fighting for Alice's relinquishment because of the suffering she has endured over the six years before they intervened. Also the chances of the care declining again are high if there isn't regular follow up. The court appearance was not favorable. No one seemed to feel that this dog was being treated cruelly, including the animal control officer saying he just throws his dogs food on the dirt too. If something isn't done, Alice will merely stay in this state for the remainder of her life. We need to campaign to get her released to the rescue at a minimum. Alice and Southern Comfort need our help and support now more than ever! Sign this petition, write letters, send faxes, whatever you have to do! Please continue your support. It is so much appreciated.
Mr. Doug Eaves, County Manager County
P.O. Box 112
Lyons, Georgia 30436-0112
Magistrate Court of Toombs County
Chief Magistrate John "Chip" Matheson
147 Jerry Avenue
Lyons, GA, 30436
Work Phone: 912 -526- 8984
SHeriff Alvie Lee Kight, Jr.
Additional officials to contact:
Issakson, Johnny - (R - GA) Class III 120 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-3643
Web Form: isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Representative John Barrow 12th District (Lyons, GA)
2202 Rayburn House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-1012
Phone: (202) 225-2823
Fax: (202) 225-3377
Savannah Office: (more district offices) 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite A
Savannah, Georgia 31406
Phone: (912) 354-7282
Fax: (912) 354-7782
450 Mall Boulevard, Suite A
Savannah, Georgia 31406
Phone: (912) 354-7282
Fax: (912) 354-7782
925 Laney Walker Boulevard, Suite 300
Augusta, Georgia 30901
Phone: (706) 722-4494
Fax: (706) 722-4496
141 West Haynes Street, City Hall
Sandersville, Georgia 31082
Phone: (478) 553-1923
Fax: (478) 553-9215
107 Old Airport Road, Suite A
Vidalia, Georgia 30474
Phone: (912) 537-9301
Fax: (912) 537-9266
127 East Hancock Street
Milledgeville, Georgia 31061
Phone: (478) 452-4611
Fax: (478) 451-0717
Right now there is NO COURT DATE set, because Judge Matheson WILL NOT ALLOW for cruelty charges to be filed despite the evidence including photographs.
Article about Alice:
Boycott for Alice:
Alice's battle is being fought by Southern Comfort Rescue in Georgia. They are a certified non profit in the state and are doing everything they can to get her turned over to them. Alice deserves better! Please show your support.
Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, Inc
A State of Ga licensed, 501(c)3 non-profit org.
The dog in question is a female “Pit” Bulldog, approximately 6 years old and chocolate brown in color with a white chest and white streak under her neck.
I hereby request a charges be filed against Ms. Hayward for violation of Georgia rabies vaccination law.
Georgia statute requires the administration of rabies vaccine by a licensed veterinarian to dogs,cats, and ferrets over 12 weeks of age. (Authority Ga. L. Sec. 43-50-3 (A) (G)) Primary vaccination is usually done at 3 months of age and then annually or triennially depending on the species, type of vaccine, and county statutes. (Authority Ga. L. Sec. 31-19-1). Regardless of the age of the animal at primary vaccination, a booster vaccination should be administered 1 year later.
On February 1, 2011, Ms. Hayward admitted to Scott Bennett of Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, Inc. in front of Toombs County Sheriff's Sgt. Walter Thompson that the aboved mentioned dog did not have a rabies vaccination.
Additionally, I request charges of animal cruelty and neglect be brought against Ms. Hayward for Cruelty to Animals
According to O.C.G.A. §16-12-4, A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he/she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect.
Willful neglect means the intentional withholding of food and water required by an animal to prevent starvation or dehydration. O.C.G.A. §16-12-4
Adequate food and water means food and water that is sufficient in an amount and appropriate for the particular type of animal to prevent starvation, dehydration, or a significant risk to the animal's health from a lack of food or water. O.C.G.A. §§4-11-2, 4-13-2
Humane care of animals means, but is not limited to, the provision of adequate heat, ventilation, sanitary shelter, and wholesome and adequate food and water, consistent with the normal requirements and feeding habits of the animal's size, species, and breed. O.C.G.A. §§4-11-2, 4-13-2
Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (felony charge): A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by rendering a part of such animal's body useless or by seriously disfiguring such animal…[paraphrased] except for conduct otherwise permitted under state or federal law. O.C.G.A. §16-12-4
Further it is impossible to determine an animal's health by merely referencing a photograph or simply looking at the animal's exterior. Therefore, I also request that the above referenced dog be thoroughly tested for coccidia, parasites, and heartworms. A severe case of heartworms can “seriously disfigure” internal organs such as the heart and lungs and could cause parts of the dog's body to be “rendered useless” if left untreated.
The fact that Ms. Hayward has since relocated the dog to a new penned area and obtained minimal veterinary care should not dismiss the fact that she did commit the offense of animal cruelty for as many as six years. Also, it should be noted that the new penned area does not include any type of bedding or such to provide warmth during cold nights, inadequate shading from the elements and she has not supplied this dog with a proper water container. It should also be noted that placing the dog's food directly on the ground in an uncleaned kennel is unsanitary and not an acceptable or proper way to feed a dog as defined in the above noted Georgia statute, as this can lead to bacteria and internal parasitic infestation and infection.
I also request that the above mentioned dog be impounded according to Georgia law and be placed in protective custody with Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, a state licensed rescue, non-profit corporation, or a similar rescue organization, until said court proceedings are disposed. Should Ms. Hayward be found guilty of the charges, I request that the above mentioned dog not be returned to her, but that Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, Inc. be granted full and unconditional custody of the dog
I also request that if Ms. Hayward is found guilty that she should be prohibited from owning (directly or indirectly) additional animals for as long as her sentence is in effect.
I further request that the above mentioned dog be thoroughly examined by a licensed veterinarian; and should the dog require additional veterinary treatment for any internal disorders, I also request that Ms. Hayward be ordered to pay for said treatments either up front or by restitution if found guilty of any of the Georgia animal cruelty/neglect statutes.