Dozens of dead and live animals found in Sevier County

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

NOTE: Gallery has pictures of home, which some viewers may find disturbing

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- More than 50 pure bred dogs are safe, after getting rescued from deplorable conditions. Animal control workers also found cats, lizards, and birds inside Jeffery Ward's home.

"Surprised. I can't believe that, right in our own neighborhood," said Judy Presnell. Not to mention 16 marijuana plants worth 10-grand outside. "I hadn't noticed anything going and coming."

The scene can only be described as filthy. Animal feces strewn throughout the home. Yorkies and Schnauzers found with matted hair, covered in scabies. One dog lay dead in the home.

"Hoarding seems to be a problem that we're having. This is the fourth case in a year that we've dealt with," said Ofc. Phillip King of the Sevier County Sheriff's Department.

"This one is going to be memorable," said Humane Society worker Jayne Vaughn. She said some of the animals might have to be put down. "Some of them, quite frankly, are in very guarded condition."

All the animals have been taken out of the home, but the unbearable smell remains. "We had to go in with respirators," King said.

Ward himself was covered in flea bites. But that could be the least of his worries. "He's in jail," said King, facing 66 counts of animal cruelty, plus drug charges.


SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Sevierville man was arrested Wednesday after authorities found sixty-seven animals in what they described as poor living conditions, the Sevier Co. Sheriff's Office announced.

Authorities said they found 54 dogs, 4 cats, 6 birds, and 3 lizards livinf at Jeffery Ward's home at 290 Ingle Hollow Rd. Many of the animals appeared to be sick and malnourished. One dog was found dead outside in a kennel.

Many of the animals were taken to the Sevier Co. Animal Shelter, while some had to be taken to the animal clinic for treatment.

Animal Control Officer Phil King called it as a classic case of of animal hoarding and noted some of the dogs appeared to be purebreds.

King said the conditions inside the home were horrific, with animal waste on the floor and no sign that Ward had tried to clean it up. Authorities also said that ward had flea bites and sores on his legs.

Several marijuana plants were also found outside the home and were collected as evidence.

Ward has been charged with 66 counts of animal cruelty and 1 count of aggravated animal cruelty and was taken to jail where he is being held on $4,500 bond. A hearing date has been set for September 26.

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