ASPCA Assists Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in Removal of 55 Animals in Bristol, Fla. Cruelty Case

Rescued animals transported to Escambia County Animal Services to receive much-needed medical care
May 26, 2017

Bristol, Fla.—At the request of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) assisted local authorities with evidence collection and managed the removal and transport of 55 animals living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions from two properties in Bristol, Fla., approximately 50 miles west of Tallahassee. The Escambia County Animal Services located in Pensacola, Fla. is also working to support local authorities by providing sheltering and assisting in placing these animals once they receive much-needed medical care and treatment.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office executed two separate search warrants Wednesday morning, where responders discovered a variety of animals—including dogs, guinea pigs, chickens, rabbits, and cats—living in unsanitary conditions and exhibiting numerous signs of neglect. Some of the animals appeared to be suffering from untreated medical issues such as parasites, open wounds, skin disease, and flea infestation. Dogs were found chained outside with lack of access to water or appropriate shelter, and chickens were housed in small enclosures, surrounded by feces and trash.

Four individuals were arrested as a result of the animal cruelty investigation:

  • Sheena McKinney, charged with one count of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor;
  • Susan McKinney, charged with child neglect, a felony;
  • Christopher Vallis, charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor; and
  • Shirley Butler, charged with one count of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.

Additional charges against all four subjects are pending final analysis of the animals and evidence submitted by the ASPCA to local authorities.

“I would like to thank the ASPCA for their support in these investigations, which have led to the removal of 55 animals from substandard conditions and four arrests,” said Sheriff Eddie Joe White with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. “Through our partnership with the ASPCA, the animals seized during these investigations were safely removed, transported, and are being cared for at no cost to the taxpayers of Liberty County. I am saddened by the conditions we discovered at these residences, but relieved that we were able to remove an 11-year-old child from one of these homes and place her in a safe and nurturing environment. We also found evidence suggesting ongoing drug use at the residence and made an arrest on drug-related charges. These investigations and arrests are part of my ongoing commitment to make our communities safe, and send a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated and hold these individuals accountable for their crimes.”

“It’s apparent that these animal victims have been living in deplorable conditions for quite some time,” said Adam Leath, Southeast regional director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “We’re pleased to be in a position to help the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office remove these animals from a dire situation and transport them to a temporary shelter where they can recover and eventually be placed into safe and loving homes.”

The animals were transported by the ASPCA to Escambia County Animal Services, where they will receive medical exams and behavior assessments until they can be made available for adoption.