Jeremy Jones of Loxahatchee, Florida was arrested Tuesday after he was accused of neglecting two three-month old Catahoula puppies, news sources report. Jones, 39, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on four counts of cruelty toward animals. A judge set his bail bond at $6,000. The press did not say whether Jones has hired an attorney.
According to reports, the dogs were discovered in May at Jones’s home in Loxahatchee. Investigators with the Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control visited the home after a tipster apparently claimed two puppies in Jones’s possession were in bad shape and looked as though they might die. Animal care officials located five dogs on Jones’s property during their visit, sources say. Three were apparently adult dogs that appeared healthy and were properly supplied with water and food. The dogs’ breeds were not specified.
Officials also found two Catahoula puppies around three months of age on the property. The puppies were apparently flea-infested, severely underweight and lethargic; one also had a liquid-filled lump on its head. Reports suggest they were being kept in a small case and did not have access to water or food. It is not clear whether Jones purchased the puppies or got them through some other means.
When animal control officials called Jones, he reportedly told them he was having trouble getting the puppies to gain weight. Jones also said he had plans to take the puppies to a veterinarian, sources indicate. Jones reportedly gave the officers his permission to repossess the animals.
The puppies ended up at an animal control facility, where they received care for several weeks. A veterinarian at an animal control facility checked the puppy’s conditions and reportedly said they were malnourished. Ginger, the puppy who had a lump on her head, needed an operation and was in especially poor condition, sources indicate. The animal control unit kept Ginger and the other puppy, Riley, until they were “normal, happy” dogs, reports say. Around a month after their rescue, Ginger and Riley were sent off to new homes.
Meanwhile, the Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control was trying to bring their case against Jones to the police, sources indicate. Reports say the animal control center cannot arrest suspects, so they must file and send reports to the State Attorney’s Office. From there, state officials decide whether a suspect of animal cruelty or neglect will be charged. In Jones’s case, prosecutors decided to press charges.
“We’re happy to have removed [the puppies] from their horrible conditions and glad to see that this person will face justice for his acts — or failure to act,” a Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control spokesperson reportedly said. It remains to be seen whether this case will affect Jones’s custody over his three other dogs, which appear to be healthy.
Animal cruelty cases are a prevalent problem throughout the United States. According to statistics from the Humane Society of the United States, there were 1,880 reported animal cruelty cases in the U.S. in 2007. Of those cases, 64.5% involved dogs, 18% involved cats, and 25% involved other animals.