Puppy mill operator arrested and more than 700 dogs rescued
A Georgia man who runs a licensed pet breeding business was arrested after authorities found hundreds of dogs –– most of them puppies –– in "inhumane" conditions, local police said Thursday. Reason Craig Gray, 58, of Nashville was jailed pending charges for the cruel treatment of these dogs and obstruction, according to the Berrien County Sheriff's Office.
Gray, who operates a massive kennel called "Georgia Puppies" in his home, was handcuffed a week after the Georgia Department of Agriculture completed an inspection of his business and notified the Berrien County Sheriff's Office. Gray had voluntarily surrendered more than 630 dogs last week, but he admitted to bringing them back on his property a day or two later, police said.
On Thursday, investigators obtained a search warrant and executed it with animal control nearby. Berrien Sheriff Ray Paulk said an additional 85 dogs were rescued from the so-called puppy mill.
"There are many questions yet to be answered and one huge one is how this licensed pet dealer was allowed to have an operation with this many beautiful creatures to be able to populate to the point of being out of control and inhumane," Paulk said.
Gray was named on the Humane Society's "Horrible Hundred 2018" list that indicates "trouble" kennel operators and facilities. He was cited last year by the state for dogs housed permanently in temporary enclosures and dogs found without adequate space. Gray was only given a violation then and the report also listed concerns of "overcrowding."
Releash Atlanta, a non-profit that works to save dogs from high kill shelters throughout Georgia, took in some of recently rescued pups from Gray's business. One of them was a pooch named Jordan Knight, who was sleeping while standing –– even with a doggie bed next to him, on his first night away the kennel.
"He has likely lived his entire life sleeping like this, learning to get comfortable standing, which is why even their toenails grow straight out versus curling," the organization wrote on Facebook post. "This is what pure greed did to this dog."
While Gray is in jail, a trove of documents and veterinary reports are being reviewed by the Berrien County Sheriff's Office to determine the full extent of charges against him.
"We are currently obtaining more documentation from the veterinarian examinations, retrieving statements, and reviewing the Georgia Department of Agriculture's reports," Paulk said.
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