FAYETTE COUNTY, TN (abc24.com) - Two California women pulled over in Fayette County with more than 140 dogs in a U-Haul are out of jail after each posted $100,000 bond. The judge in this case said he thinks they had some unlikely help in their cross country venture.
Bonnie Sheehan and Pamela King-McCracken appeared in court on January 24, 2012 and gave up custody of the animals. Both women are charged with aggravated animal cruelty.
Judge Mike Whitaker said to prosecutors, "It appears to me you were right on, they were being run out of town."
The judge believes the women had help getting more than 140 animals out of California, "possibly members of Long Beach Animal Control aided or assisted in loading these animals."
Sheehan's lawyer, David Douglas, agreed with the judge's determination.
"There were animal control agents and law enforcement there when she left," he said. "Long Beach authorities encouraged [Sheehan] to make this move… I believe they were just in support of her taking these animals and went by and inspected everything before she left."
That fact had Judge Whitaker barking mad. He stated, "Frankly I don't appreciate Long Beach or anyone else ducking this problem on us and permitting abuse to go on."
Douglas added, "The judge has a problem of if they set this lady up to fail, that needs to be considered."
Set up or not, Whitaker said the women should still be held accountable.
"It doesn't absolve problems here but it does add a layer," the judge said. "If they were aided by authorities in that town to do this or were run out of town, then we need to talk about it more."
Both women are due back in court on Feb. 21st.