TAZEWELL (WVLT) -- Two people have been arrested in connection with more than 100 counts of animal cruelty in Claiborne County. It all started when the Tazewell police pulled over a double horse trailer for having no tail lights early Saturday morning and saw a Beagle in a small container.
"The Beagle was in a container all the way up in the upper corner of the this van, stacked on everything else. And this is the container that the full-grown Beagle was in. This is 9 inches by 24 inches by 36 inches. And that poor dog was in this container," said Michael Barrett, who is on the Claiborne Animal Shelter's board of directors.
Officers immediately called the Claiborne Animal Shelter, and Barrett showed up. They found 6 puppies, 100 chickens, 9 peacocks and 18 rabbits in other cages - most dehydrated and underweight. Police arrested Charlie Gregory of Pineville, KY and Taniciah Little of Andersonville, TN. They each face 134 counts of animal cruelty.
"We found three puppies in this container, and three other puppies in another container - in a fruit box. In a wooden fruit box with just these little clamps on it. No food, no water," said Barrett.
The puppies have plenty of food and water now, but it will take awhile before they're healthy again.
"Their little spines are showing right now, and their ribs are. But they are gonna get all nice and healthy," said Liza Martz, executive director of the Claiborne Animal Shelter.
Dr. Mark Russell with Russell Veterinary Services examined all of the animals.
"If you think about your Thanksgiving turkey, it has nice big muscles right there - and when they get underweight, that bone is very prominent. So this bird is quite thin - quite poor muscle tone," said Russell.
Many were in that condition and one of the chickens didn't make it.
The shelter is now in the process of building chicken coups, so the animals have more space to move around. Of course, that costs money - and so does food - so the shelter is hopeful for donations.
Martz said Gregory turned over the beagle and six puppies to the shelter, so they will be up for adoption as soon as they're healthy. As for the rest of the animals, they'll have to wait for the court to decide whether they should be taken away from Gregory and Little.