By Jessie Williams
A Macon County couple involved in an animal hoarding situation was charged with 38 counts of cruelty to animals last week.
According to Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons, his office received reports that several dogs were trying to kill local livestock on Friday, January 18.
Over the weekend, deputies and Macon County Animal Control Officer Jamie Weekley arrived at the Sycamore Valley Road residence of 46-year-old Jennifer Leary and her husband, 59-year-old Gary Leary, and discovered a total of 38 dogs, mostly Huskies. Two of the 38 dogs were deceased.
Those that were alive were found to be malnourished, emaciated and/or living in filthy conditions. Two of the dogs were pregnant.
Some of the dogs were running loose in a fenced-in area, others were caged in a barn and several were located inside the house.
The animals were transported to a building at the Macon County Justice Center where they could be properly vetted, fed and watered.
Lafayette Animal Control Officer Tom Dallas, the Red Boiling Springs Rescue Squad, the Lafayette Fire Department, the Macon County Rescue Squad and the Willette Rescue Squad assisted with the dogs.
Wilson County’s Disaster Animal Response Team, or DART, also assisted in locating rescue sanctuaries for the animals.
All of the dogs found on the Leary property were checked for chips. One was discovered to be the missing pet of a neighbor.
According to Weekley, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency will be checking the dogs for cross breeding, as some of them are suspected to be part coyote.
The animals will be transported to animal rescue centers next week where they will learn to interact with people before being adopted out.
Weekley told the Chronicle that she has received numerous calls regarding monetary donations for the dogs.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation can contact Macon County Mayor Steve Jones.
Jennifer and Gary Leary are each being held on $20,500 bond for 38 counts of cruelty to animals. They are scheduled to appear in Macon County General Sessions Court on February 20, 2019.