Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dogs cost county $60K; ex-owner will pay $1K

By Jason Yurgartis
A Callahan man accused of multiple counts of animal cruelty and using animals for fighting, both felonies, was ordered to pay $1,000 restitution to Nassau County Animal Services - which has incurred nearly $60,000 to house and care for the 28 dogs seized from his home last year.

Michael Brown, 45, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges Sept. 3. He will serve a year of probation, complete 150 hours of community service at a church, forfeit ownership of all dogs and will be barred from owning dogs for five years.

Brown pleaded no contest to five counts of a lesser offense of confinement of animals without sufficient food, water or exercise, and adjudication was withheld. He must pay $1,000 in restitution to Nassau County Animal Services and $750 to a charity for animals along with various court costs.A total of 28 dogs were taken from Brown's property after his arrest in December 2008. Some of them were puppies and, according to court records, were euthanized due to contracting the parvovirus. The 23 remaining dogs - one German shepherd and the rest pit bulls - have been held at the county animal shelter in Yulee since they were confiscated.

New Director of Nassau County Animal Services Deborah Biggs said Thursday the dogs have cost nearly $60,000 to house and care for at the shelter since Brown's arrest and might be rehabilitated."

We have not received notification from the court yet that these dogs have been released to us but I am working on that release," Biggs said. "Our intention is to contact some of the pit bull rescue groups in Florida and possibly south Georgia to see if they can work with these animals to adopt them out into new families."

Brown's lawyer, Reginald Luster of Luster and Davis PA in Jacksonville, said Wednesday he was happy with the outcome..." More