Four people pleaded guilty Wednesday in an animal hoarding case stemming from May that led to the impoundment of 69 animals.
Jimmy Lee Cagle, Rebecca Jean Cagle, Brandy Leeann Teems and Jodie Nicholas Starnes each received a criminal citation for violating the county’s animal hoarding ordinance on the May 16 incident.
Animal Control Director Mike Ledford confirmed the Cagles are husband and wife. He was unsure how Teems and Starnes are related, but said that all four were living in the same residence.
Authorities were called to Bogus Road, off of Nopone Road, following a resident’s complaint of the animals running loose. Once they reached the premises, they counted 67 dogs and two guinea pigs.
Three deceased dogs were also found on the property.
Ledford said that this was clearly a hoarding case.
“In this particular situation, it was because they had 69 animals in less than an acre with a double-wide mobile home on it,” he said. He added that some of the animals were inside the home, while others were running loose outside.
Ledford also said that none of the animals were malnourished, so they were getting food from somewhere, but there was not enough food set out for the sheer number of animals.
“There was no vet care for any of them, ever,” he said. “None of them had ever been to a vet, or received vaccines.”
While the dogs were infested with fleas and ticks, Ledford said that most of them seemed to be in decent health.
“Numberwise, it’s probably one of the worst,” he said of animal hoarding cases in Hall County. The guinea pigs were found in clean cages, but were seized as part of the process.
Ledford said that the last significant animal hoarding case he can remember is from the late 2000s.
While some of the dogs were mothers who were either pregnant or still nursing, Ledford does not believe the site was a puppy mill.
The four were arraigned Wednesday in magistrate court. Rebecca Cagle, Teems and Starnes received a fine of $155.75 each. Ledford said that Jimmy Cagle’s fines totaled more than $900 after he received other unrelated citations.
Ledford said that there may be mandatory animal training and treatment lessons added to the sentencing.
“It was one of the things in the original agreement, when they were going to try and get some of the animals back,” he said. The owners only ended up reclaiming the guinea pigs and one of the dogs.
“The majority of the dogs have been adopted out and rehomed,” Ledford confirmed.