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February 23, 2012

Sick as a Dog

‘Rescue’ operators arrested for animal cruelty

PINE KNOT —  The operators of a purported animal rescue shelter were arrested Thursday on multiple charges of animal cruelty.

    Tina E. Jones, 36, and Jason Jay Greenfield, 34, both of the Pine Knot, were lodged in the McCreary County Detention Center after authorities served the couple with arrest warrants stemming from an inspection of the Heaven’s Little Angels Rescue located at 122 Cherry Lane.

    McCreary County Animal Control Officer Milford Creekmore II sought the warrants after he and Judge-Executive Doug Stephens visited the property on Wednesday. Both men had received an increasing number of calls regarding the shelter over the last two weeks.

    Judge Stephens said that one of the complaints involved Jones feeding pennies to the dogs as a way to de-worm them. He added that Jones herself had contacted Stephens’ office last week, asking numerous questions about the legalities involved in running an animal shelter.

    While Jones was either not at home or did not come to the door at the time of the inspection Wednesday, Creekmore and Stephens witnessed outside the home several ill dogs, animal waste and even carcasses on a burn pile.

    As Creekmore’s authority is limited to issuing citations, he and Judge Stephens presented County Attorney Michele Wilson Jones with the information needed to obtain the arrest warrants.

    The men returned the following afternoon accompanied by McCreary County Sheriff Gus Skinner, Kentucky State Police Trooper Phillip Hayes, Lake Cumberland District Health Department inspector Jarrod Simpson, McCreary County Emergency Management/911 Director Rudy Young, Deputy Judge-Executive Andrew Powell and County Maintenance Supervisor Jake Helton.

    As Jones and Greenfield were taken into custody, the group was able to see that conditions inside the residence were as bad if not worse than out in the yard. Animal waste reportedly obstructed the trailer’s air vents.

    “It couldn’t have been healthy for the people or the animals,” Stephens said.

    Authorities collected a total of 29 dogs and two cats. With Creekmore’s vehicle filled to capacity, the Whitley County Animal Control Office assisted in transporting the animals to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter in Rockholds for assessment. McCreary County does not have its own public shelter.

    Jones and Greenfield were lodged in the McCreary County Detention Center on charges of second-degree Cruelty to Animals, which is classified under Kentucky Revised Statutes as a Class A Misdemeanor. A trial date has been scheduled for March 7 in McCreary County District Court.

    Meanwhile, Judge Stephens said he would consult with County Attorney Wilson Jones to draft an ordinance expanding the scope of McCreary County Animal Control. “Our purpose is not to harass the public but we need to prevent issues like this from happening again,” the judge said.

    At press time Jones had been released while Greenfield remained lodged under a $7,500 bond.

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