VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A verdict was returned in the high profile case of a Lowndes County dog who animal activists were, as of Tuesday, continuing to try to get taken away from its owner.
With a nearly full court room Tuesday afternoon, Judge Joni Parker granted the county's recommendation that Leon Kinsey only be issued a warning for failing to take care of his dog, River, who was found on a neighbor's property in very poor health back in January.
"That disposes of that citation," Judge Parker remarked in response to the county's recommendation that Kinsey only be issued a warning.
The case originally went to court in February, but the judge granted a continuation in order to have more time to hear evidence in the case. The judge allowed Kinsey to keep the dog but mandated that it be subjected to multiple vet visits in the time between the two court dates and multiple random animal welfare checks.
Tuesday, the county presented evidence that both had been complied with and therefore Kinsey should get off with a warning. Kinsey's attorney, Richard Wilkes, agreed. "I think it was correct. This case has kind of been driven by something other than the law up to this point and I think that today the law prevailed," Wilkes stated.
Kinsey, himself, was not in court Tuesday. Something members of the group "Justice for River", advocating for the dog to be taken away from Kinsey, were not happy about.
"The owners don't have to show up for court and then they get a warning. What does that say for future animals," Samantah Radloff, a member of "Justice for River" group, asked rhetorically.
The group's lawyer argued that a motion to intervene be granted so that she could present the group's argument about why they believe the dog should be taken away from Kinsey, but the judge denied the motion, citing a lack of precedent.
"Definitely worried about the dog," Radloff said. "For several years they didn't care for the dog. When it's in the public eye they do, and now it's not in the public's eye anymore."
The group planned to keep fighting and said this case was not over.