Humane Society presses charges
Published 8:52 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER-Managing editor
After further investigation, the Escambia County Humane Society decided to press charges against two Pensacola women accused of hoarding some 54 animals in an abandoned mobile home.
Renee Jones, animal cruelty investigator for Escambia County (Ala.), signed a warrant Monday afternoon charging each woman with 10 counts of animal cruelty.
Janna Dodge, 70, owner of the property and mobile home, and her friend Elizabeth Cox, 58, were charged with eight counts of cruelty to a dog, and two counts of animal cruelty.
The women arrived at their mobile home last Saturday and found a notice from the Humane Society that their animals had been seized. The women showed up at the shelter the following Monday and wanted their animals back. The women eventually agreed to surrender all 54 animals.
Jones had originally decided not to press charges because of the age of the women and the fact that it costs a lot of money to facilitate animals during a pending court case.
Jones had also said in an earlier interview that she believed the women were "hoarders," which is a clinical psychological disorder.
According to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, animal hoarding is a community problem. It is cruel to animals, can devastate families, be associated with elder abuse, child abuse, self-neglect and can ultimately be costly for municipalities to resolve.
Jones spoke with Jama Singley, an animal cruelty investigator for Lee County and an "expert" on hoarding, It ultimately became necessary that in order to stop the women from further hoarding instances, charges were going to be pressed.
When initially asked how many animals they currently kept at their home in Pensacola, the women told Jones that they were holding one poodle at their home, located in a subdivision on Edison Drive in Pensacola.
After an on-site investigation by the Escambia County (Fla.) animal control on Friday, it was found that the women actually kept 19 dogs at their home in Pensacola. Jones said that 13 of the dogs were indoor dogs, which can be a sign of hoarding, and eight of the 19 had received up-to-date shots. Animal control officials also found empty water bowls and similar conditions to the sight found at the mobile home, which was located in a small field between mile marker 24 and 25 along Hwy. 29. The women were ordered to clean up the home and have the remaining animals vaccinated in 24 hours.
The women had allegedly bought bags of lime and after the 24-hour notice the women had not cleaned up. However, the remaining animals had been given their shots, which Jones said the women clearly had enough money to take care of the animals and clean up the house in the time allotted.
After the charges have been made the case will be handled by the sheriff's department. If the women are found guilty of the misdemeanor charges, they could face up to one year in jail or a fine of $1,000 per charge.