FAYETTE COUNTY, TN (abc24.com) - Two women pulled over in Fayette County with over 140 animals in a U-Haul are now free on bond, and have forfeited custody of the animals.
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.
Neither Bonnie Sheehan nor Pamela King-McCracken spoke with the media after each posted $100,000 bond.
Fayette County District Attorney Mike Dunavant told abc24.com his office asked for control of the dogs "to immediately provide for the care, treatment, and adoption of these animals."
The animals were suffering from a variety of ailments, such as worms, respiratory infections and fleas, but are now in good condition after receiving veterinary care and none had to be euthanized. One animal was found dead at the scene. Forfeiture of the animals means they could be available for adoption pending the outcome of the investigation. They are currently in the care of Fayette County Animal Control.
David Douglas, Sheehan's lawyer, said his client was "heartbroken… She cares a lot about animals."
Sheehan and King-McCracken are scheduled to return to court on Feb. 21st.