Dawson - Last month, a Terrell County jury found Steve Morgan guilty of eight charges of animal cruelty. The judge sentenced Steve Morgan to 18 months jail time, 78 months probation, during which he is to have no contact with animals.
He will also have to pay a $2000.00 fine, plus court costs, and restitution.
Patti Greene says, "Maybe it would send a message to people out there. Make them think twice before doing something like this."
Morgan owns Puddle Jumpers, a pet grooming service in Albany. A former customer spoke before sentencing today, saying his animals were treated excellently, but Morgan was tried for the way he treated his own pets, not those of customers.
Lucie Beeley says, "You can't blame that on ignorance. I believe that you hold him to a higher standard of care, than you would even a typical pet owner, because he understands the difference in what a dog looks like and these dogs were in very very poor shape."
In fact, two of the dogs died. "There was one little dog that they picked up, that we never saw, that passed away immediately." Another died several months later, due to advanced heart worms.
Lucie Beeley believes Morgan's sentence is fair, but that his access to animals should be restricted beyond his probation period. She says, "I don't think that Mr. Morgan deserves to be around animals ever again, without supervision, because it's clear to me that he should not own animals. He is not capable of taking care of them in the proper manner and I don't think that he should be allowed to own pets ever."
Morgan's lawyer plans to appeal. Morgan's bond was set at $10,000. He was taken into custody today. Even if he bonds out, he is not allowed to return to his shop.