Woman Charged With 15 Counts of Second-Degree Cruelty

Alabama authorities have charged Debra Catledge with 15 counts of second-degree dog and cat cruelty. The arrest came after police received an anonymous tip that Catledge, 53, was running a puppy mill.

Animal Control Officer Anthony Wilbanks said the following about the puppies that were found, “These guys have never touched a solid surface until we got them in here. They were in rabbit pens with chicken wire. We’re hoping people will understand: you can’t just take dogs and stick them in pens just to breed them to make money. There’s no financial gain if you actually do the right thing and carry them to the vet.”

Wilbanks reports that many of the dogs were in dire need of care, suffering a variety of conditions, from rotting teeth to testicular cancer.

More than 120 Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians were rescued and taken to the Colbert County Animal Shelter to be medically checked out and prepared for fostering and adoption. The community came out in force, with around 100 people showing up at the shelter looking to adopt the dogs that seemed ready for a new home.

Emotions were running so high that some of the people hoping to adopt got into a scuffle. Wilbanks admitted, “We knew we were going to be overwhelmed today, but we had no idea it was going to get this extreme.”

Nearly 50 dogs needing additional medical care and rehabilitation were taken by area rescue groups. The shelter says they will update the public on when the other dogs are ready for adoption on their website.

Catledge is currently out on bail.

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