A woman identified by Sheriff Brad Lance as Ellen Burford of Senatobia was arrested on Nov. 18 and charged with six felonies and five misdemeanors in connection with operating what authorities described as a “puppy mill” in eastern Tate County.
Lance said Burford was released the same day under a $10,000 bond. He also said that Burford’s case will be handled in Tate County Circuit Court at an undetermined date.
The 11 charges of animal cruelty stem from a search warrant served on Burford’s property on Highway 305 by the Tate County Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 11.
In a coordinated effort between the Tate County Sheriff’s Department and officials from Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), over 200 neglected and sick animals were discovered on the property.
The planning for the August rescue began when ARC received a tip of a suspected puppy mill and contacted the Tate County Sheriff’s Department. An undercover investigation provided clear violations of local and state laws, according to an ARC news release.
Many animals were found living in deplorable conditions in several dwellings on the property. Several were suffering from heavy infestations of internal and external parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms.
Cats and dogs had alopecia and anemia as a result of their heavy flea and tick infestations. Some of the animals were emaciated and suffering from malnutrition. All of the cats had upper respiratory and eye infections, according to ARC.
A total of 170 dogs, cats and kittens were taken to a warehouse in Hernando where a temporary shelter was set up to care and treat the animals. ARC transported many of the animals to other shelters around the Mid-South and several were taken to Tri-County Humane Society in Boca Raton, Fla., for adoptions.
According to documents obtained by the Tate Record, Burford was indicted on six felonies for violating Section 97-41-15 of Mississippi Code that states:
(1) Any person who shall maliciously, either out of a spirit of revenge or wanton cruelty, or who shall mischievously kill, maim or wound, or injure any livestock, or cause any person to do the same, shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction, shall be committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not less than 12 months nor more than five years, and fined an amount not less than $1,500, nor more than $10,000.
(2) In addition to any such fine or imprisonment which may be imposed, the court shall order that restitution be made to the owner of any animal listed in subsection (1) of this section. The measure for restitution in money shall be the current replacement value of such loss and/or the actual veterinarian fees, special supplies, loss of income and other costs incurred as a result of actions in violation of subsection (1) of this section.
(3) For purposes of this section, the term "livestock" shall mean horses, cattle, swine, sheep and other domestic animals produced for profit.
Buford was also indicted on five misdemeanors for violating Section 97-41-16 (2)(a) of Mississippi Code that states:
If a person shall intentionally or with criminal negligence wound, deprive of adequate shelter, food or water, or carry or confine in a cruel manner, any domesticated dog or cat, or cause any person to do the same, then he or she shall be guilty of the offense of simple cruelty to a dog or cat.
A person who is convicted of the offense of simple cruelty to a dog or cat shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.
(Desoto Times - Dec 19, 2016)