Two Georgia Residents Convicted in ASPCA Animal Cruelty Case

<p>Defendants found guilty of 26 counts of animal cruelty</p>
January 6, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the conviction of two Georgia residents--Derrick Montez Daniels of Dekalb and Billy Taylor Jr. of Sandersville--for animal cruelty in connection to the February 17, 2010, dogfighting raid where 26 dogs were seized near Sandersville, Ga.

Each defendant was convicted in Washington County Courthouse for 26 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Mr. Daniels was sentenced to five years in state prison and five years of probation; Mr. Taylor was sentenced to one year in county jail and nine years of probation.

"Thanks to the diligence of the Washington County Sheriff's Office and Deputy Lynn Schlup, the defendants were held accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused these innocent animals," said Tim Rickey, senior director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response and leader of the February investigation. Rickey, who also attended the three-day trial in Sandersville, added, "These dogs were not only starved of food and affection, but used to breed and fight each other to the death. I'm glad justice is being served."

"This was a team effort, and I am grateful for the hard work by the District Attorney's Office and the ASPCA," added Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith.

On February 17, 2010, the ASPCA dispatched its Field Investigation and Response team to manage the investigation and seizure of 26 alleged fighting dogs from the 25-acre property, approximately 130 miles southeast of Atlanta, under the authority of the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Working in conjunction with United Animal Nations and Sumter DART (Disaster Animal Response Team), the ASPCA discovered 26 emaciated dogs without food, water or adequate shelter, shivering in the freezing temperatures and chained to tire axles and posts throughout the property. In addition, ASPCA responders found 27 deceased dogs in various stages of decomposition.

The dogs were transferred to an emergency shelter in Washington County and triaged by ASPCA veterinarians, Drs. Melinda Merck and Robert Reisman, and later evaluated by the ASPCA animal behavior team, led by Dr. Pamela Reid. All of the dogs evaluated were emaciated, suffering from untreated injuries, respiratory problems and open wounds.

"I am very appreciative of all the hard work from the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the ASPCA on this case," said Hayward Altman, District Attorney Middle Judicial Circuit of Ga. "It was a collaborative effort and we're happy with the results."

Rickey added, "It's encouraging to start off the year with two successful animal cruelty convictions and send a clear message that animal abuse will not be tolerated in our country."