Albany groomer accused of animal cruelty - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany groomer accused of animal cruelty

December 28, 2004

Terrell County- Lap dogs. That's what animal lovers usually call little dogs.

But they weren't being treated like lap dogs when they were found in a Terrell County home on Billy Martin Road. A sheriff's deputy and animal control officer investigated after complaints last week.

"Upon that request the deputy and I came to the property and located several animals that were not being not taken care of as well as they should be," said Martha Ann Coe, director of Animal Control.

Officers found rows of kennels in unsanitary conditions, filthy animals and even dog skeletons.

"There was no evidence of food or water," Coe said. "There was no shelter for four that were in the backyard. We did find one on that back door step that was barely breathing."

That was a Chihuahua. He died before they got him to the vet. The cause was starvation and hypothermia.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the case is that the man charged is Steve Morgan, owner of Puddle Jumpers, an Albany pet grooming business. After closing Tuesday night, a small horse was fenced in next to the business on Stuart Avenue.

"I don't know anything personally about his business in Albany. I do know that he has a business in Albany, but a lot of animals are here in Terrell County," Coe said.

In all, Terrell County is caring for nine of Morgan's dogs. He did not return a message left at his home tonight. As for the rest of his livestock, a neighbor has been feeding them. And the state Department of Agriculture has examined them.

"The Equine Division was here in Terrell County yesterday afternoon and we'll analyze the horses and we'll go from that point."

That means Morgan may face more charges.

As for people with pets, dog owners who depend on a good groomer should watch out.

"Be careful of who you leave your animals with," Coe said.

You may not want your pet treated the way the ones found in and around Morgan's home were treated.

posted at 10:36 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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