Thirty dogs and cats were found in a feces-filled home in Greeneville.
Patricia and Kendall Kinney appeared in court for an arraignment hearing Monday. Combined, they’re now facing more than 80 charges of aggravated animal cruelty and vaccination violations.
“In the five years I’ve been here it’s the worst case I’ve ever seen,” said Chris Cutshall, Greene County Animal Control director. “There was not one place in the house that didn’t have feces in it.”
Twenty of those dogs and six cats are now living at the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society.
“They were just so pitiful when they came in on Friday,” said Humane Society Manager Janet Medcalf.
Medcalf said they already had 22 dogs before the intake that doubled their count.
She said that’s putting strain on their budget.
Medcalf estimates medical treatment and basic care for each pet costs anywhere from $300 to $500.
That means the cost of care for 26 new animals could be well in excess of $10 thousand.
Medcalf said she doesn’t expect any court ordered funds from the offenders to offset the budget hit.
“It’s very rare that we get restitution, even if the judge orders it,” she said.
That’s something that lawmakers were trying to change under the proposed Tennessee P.A.W.S. Act.
It would’ve harshened sentences for those convicted of aggravated animal cruelty, imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in jail and a mandatory minimum restitution.
Stricter sentencing would’ve applied to first offenses involving five or more animals and any subsequent offense.
The bill was deferred for summer study and there’s no garuntee lawmakers take it back up in the next session.
Medcalf and Cutshall both agree something needs to be done to deter crimes like this.
“They need to have some stricter laws in place because most of the time its a slap on the wrist,” said Medcalf. “These are animals that need us to protect them.”
Cutshall said Patricia and Kendall Kinney are due back in court next month.