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Waynesboro couple faces animal cruelty charges

May 03, 2001

Waynesboro couple faces animal cruelty charges



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


A Waynesboro couple was charged with cruelty to animals and violation of state dog laws, including running an unlicensed kennel, after 40 dogs were found in and around their home, according to court records.

Lester D. and Donna J. Cook of 12293 Pen Mar Road face numerous charges and fines totaling nearly $1,800 following citations issued by Georgia Martin, state dog warden for Franklin County, and Rick Burd of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for the county, court records said.

The charges were filed in the office of District Justice Larry G. Pent.

Martin's charges against the couple include operating a kennel without a license, failure to vaccinate 12 dogs against rabies and keeping 12 dogs without a license. Martin also charged Donna Cook with making a false statement, alleging she lied about the number of dogs on the property, according to court records.

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The cruelty charges against the couple, filed by Burd, stemmed from depriving the dogs of a clean environment and shelter, according to court records. The cruelty charges included unsanitary conditions for three parrots in the couple's home.

Donna Cook denied the charges. She said all rabies shots for her dogs were up to date and that she obtained licenses for the dogs that didn't have them after she was cited by Martin. She also said she thought she was complying with the law because the dogs were kept on two different properties owned by the couple in the same Pen Mar Road neighborhood.

"They are only a stone's throw apart," Donna Cook said.

Cook said the legal limit for a kennel is 26 dogs. She had a kennel license in 2000, she said.

Cook said Wednesday that she has only 27 dogs, all of which have been moved onto one property.

"I found homes for 13 of them and I guess I'll have to have one put down to get to 26," she said.

She said her dogs are mixed breed.

No hearing date has been set.

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