$22,000 to be paid in Sumter County animal cruelty case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

$22,000 to be paid in Sumter County animal cruelty case

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A Sumter County woman charged with animal cruelty is ordered to pay more than $22,000 in restitution.

The Sumter Humane Society cared for more than 80 dogs seized from Margie Davis's Andersonville property in October. Investigators say the dogs were living in deplorable conditions. Wednesday, Davis agreed to surrender her three animal licenses for five years, and she won't get any of the animals back.

It was at the end of a 45 minute restitution hearing, that Judge Russ Barnes got applause.

"I'm going to take possession and ownership of those animals, through the state and through Sumter County," said Judge Russ Barnes.

"When we heard that those three dogs didn't have to go live back in those conditions, I think it just overwhelmed us all," said Michelle Andrews, Sumter Humane Society Board President.

Judge Barnes ordered Margie Davis to pay $22,181.22 in restitution. Payments Davis will make in 500 dollars monthly installments, her probation extended from 12 months to five years while she pays. While Davis told us she feels she's been unfairly treated by the state, she'll comply.

"I'm going to do what's best for my animals because whether anybody believes it or not, I love them very much," said Margie Davis.

There was public outcry when Davis was allowed to plead to just one count of animal cruelty despite the state's claims that as many as 80 dogs were living in flea infested, unsanitary cages with piles of feces and rotting food.

"In a perfect world I would have charged her, I would have subsequently charged her with several other counts," said Southwest Circuit District Attorney Plez Hardin.

A mix up in the District Attorney's office allowed the plea. The Judge said he didn't find any fraud so he wouldn't throw out the plea.

"Even if we had charged with 50 counts of animal cruelty that doesn't mean she would have gotten 50 years probation. That's why I say the net effect is the same even though she plead guilty to one count," said Hardin.

It's a resolution the Sumter Humane Society can live with. They're still working to find homes for 30 older dogs with special needs.

"Sometimes people will open their hearts to a special needs pet quicker than they'll open their hearts to a healthy pet," said Andrews.

Hopefully there's a happy ending for every one of them.

The Sumter Humane Society said this is the first time they've ever received restitution for a court case.

Davis was ordered to undergo psychological evaluation.

She told us she no longer sells any pets out of The Jungle Pet Store, just pet supplies.

If you're interested in adopting one of the 30 plus dogs you can contact the Sumter Humane Society.  Here's a link to their web site...  http://www.sumterhumanesociety.org/

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