On October 23, under the authority and request of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, the ASPCA dispatched members of its Field Investigation and Response Team to assist in the investigation of a puppy mill operating in Bay Springs, Mississippi. In total, 46 dogs were removed from the kennels and taken to a temporary shelter by the local animal cruelty investigator and the Sheriff’s department. Most of the dogs were severely emaciated and suffered from a range of ailments including skin disease, rotted teeth, fur matted with urine and feces and various infections. Several of the dogs needed emergency veterinary care.
Highly skilled in evidence collection and case management, the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Team provided the local organizations with the tools and resources needed to conduct a thorough investigation. A local veterinarian, Dr. Wayne Adams, conducted veterinary exams on each animal and triaged any immediate needs.
Richard Stockman, the owner of the kennels, reported that his mother had run the business for over a decade until suffering from a stroke five years ago. It was at that time Stockman took over full responsibility for the operation. Stockman immediately signed over 46 of the most critical dogs to Sally Langley, who works as an animal cruelty investigator with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and provides animal control services for the area. According to Jasper County Sheriff Kenneth Cross, Stockman was cited.
Our team of investigators collected evidence for possible prosecution of the criminal case and provided for the animals’ immediate needs," said ASPCA Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty, Matt Bershadker. "Animal cruelty is unacceptable, and we are doing everything we can to lend our support to this critical operation. We applaud Sheriff Cross for pursuing this case and recognizing the severity of the complaint."
On January 20, the trial of Richard Stockman came to a victorious close. Charged with 43 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, Stockman pled guilty to all charges in a Jasper County Justice Court.
Under terms of his plea agreement, Stockman must destroy his Bay Springs, MS, kennels and find homes for the remaining 50-plus dogs within 30 days, or the animals will be seized by authorities. He is also banned from ever owning or caring for dogs used for breeding again. Furthermore, Stockman has 90 days to pay the courts a $1,000 fine, or he could face jail time.
Twelve of the dogs seized from the notorious puppy mill were humanely euthanized due to the severity of their conditions. The rest were sent to the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society where they have since been adopted.
Special thanks to Tailwaggers for Life for providing crates, supplies and personnel during the raid, as well as transportation for the dogs.
To learn more about the puppy mill industry, visit our Puppy Mill section.