RIPLEY, TN (abc24.com) - A California woman, charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty in Fayette County for transporting dozens of dogs cross country in a U-Haul, struck a plea deal on the day her trial was to begin.
55-year-old Bonnie Sheehan and 59-year-old Pamela King-McCraken were both charged with aggravated animal cruelty after the animals were discovered during a traffic stop on I-40 on January 17, 2012. Officers found 141 dogs and one cat in the cargo area of the U-Haul and in a minivan towed behind the truck in cramped conditions without food or water. The animals were taken to a veterinary facility in Memphis to be evaluated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The women stated they were with an animal rescue group called 'Hearts for Hounds' and were transporting the animals from Long Beach, California to Virginia for an adoption event.
A Fayette County grand jury handed up a 30 count indictment against Sheehan and McCracken in March. After negotiating a plea deal, Bonnie Sheehan pleaded guilty to 14 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in Fayette County Circuit Court on Thursday, July 19. As part of the plea, Sheehan assumed full responsibility for the animals and charges against McCracken were dismissed.
With credit for time served, Sheehan was sentenced to 2 years supervised probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine. She is also prohibited to have custody of any animals under the terms of her probation.