GILMER--A Big Sandy area woman who had more than 70 dogs seized from her by the state in May was arrested Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals (non-livestock) after she reportedly began soliciting donations of dogs to her in recent weeks, said Upshur County Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle.
The 56-year-old woman remained in county jail at Gilmer under $3,500 bond this afternoon, said the county sheriff's office.
Dolle said he and city of Gladewater animal control officer Mark Dennison arrested the woman at her rural home at 618 Hickory Road about 4:10 p.m. on the class A misdemeanor charge. Dolle said he transported her to the county jail in Gilmer.
Another woman from whom the dogs were seized has not been charged with any crime "at this time," Dolle said today.
"That part of the case is still under investigation," he said.
The dogs had been seized from a residence in the Union Grove area May 8. Many were found to be diseased or underweight.
Dolle said the woman had been going around the county and the city of Gladewater in recent weeks soliciting donations of animals. According to Gladewater police, said Dolle, she told people "she was some kind of rescue group" and would take care of their animals if they didn't want them.
When arrested, she had three dogs and a cat which all "looked to be okay," said Dolle. She was staying at the home of a man who will "take care of them while she's incarcerated. . .He's a responsible person," the constable said.
The purported solicitation for animals is "not really" what resulted in the charge of mistreating the seized dogs, he added. It was "just kind of coincidental" the charge happened now, said Dolle.
He said officers had been gathering records of multiple veterinarians the women used and gathering other infomation in their investigation, and the investigation was completed about the time she allegedly started the solicitation.
Upshur County Billy Byrd's office issued the arrest warrant. He's been "working tirelessly with me on this," said Dolle.
"She was surprised she was arrested," but "she gave no trouble," the constable added.