Nasty living conditions, black algae water lead to animal cruel - FOX Carolina 21

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Nasty living conditions, black algae water lead to animal cruelty charges for woman who shows dogs competitively

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JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL) - A woman who owns several dogs and cats in Jonesborough faces multiple animal cruelty charges after an animal control officer says he found the animals living in deplorable conditions.

Johnson City-Washington County Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas caught it all on tape.

"There were, I believe, 10 corgi's down there," Thomas said. "It was just deplorable, just nasty, filthy, just old hair and debris, garbage, feces in all the kennels. Waters were just nasty, filthy black with algae in them. Some didn't even have water. They weren't starved, it's just the way they're contained. It's just nastiness and filth and the animals don't need to be in that."

Thomas cited Colleen Kelly, the owner of the animals on Hales Road, with 12 counts of animal cruelty, 12 counts of failure to comply with Tennessee rabies law and five counts of nuisance dog barking; all misdemeanor charges.

Thomas says Kelly shows dogs competitively and should know better.

"These are show dogs supposedly and they keep them in deplorable conditions, it's just unacceptable," Thomas said.

The sign on the mailbox outside of the property also raised concerns for Thomas. It reads Doctors Dental Studio.

"I do have concerns for people in the public that maybe are getting things that possibly may be coming from down there," Thomas said.

Kelly declined an on-camera interview, but by phone told us she doesn't operate any kind of dental business at the home. As for the cruelty allegations, she wouldn't say much, afraid it could be used against her in court. However, she insisted she's a good pet owner.

Jon Waters backed up his boss' words. The high school students says Kelly pays him to take care of the animals' food, water and hygiene needs when he's available, which animal control says lately hasn't been often enough.

"She takes very good care of her dogs," Waters said. "She works very hard."

During his visit to the property Monday, Thomas saw Waters cleaning up and told the teen he wasn't in trouble.

"You're not in trouble Jon," Thomas said in a video he filmed. "You're just the cleaning guy."

In the days since Thomas' visit, Waters says he and Kelly have stayed busy.

"I know it doesn't look good," Waters said. "We've worked hard all this week to try to get it cleaned up to where we can get somebody off her back or at least get her some leverage. It's just hard to take care of all of them sometimes."

Kelly referred us to her attorney for comment. Michael Lacy provided us with this statement.

"I've just been aware of this a couple of days," Lacy said. "I'm in the early stages of my own investigation. I've known Ms. Kelly for a little over two years. I know how deeply she cares for her animals and I know she makes a considerable effort to care for them properly. I've had a phone conversation with Mr. Wayne Thomas in an effort to begin to understand what his concerns are and I will be working with Mr. Thomas and the district attorney's office to develop a resolution that's acceptable to all the interested parties."

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