//Nearly 700 Dogs Voluntarily Surrendered

Nearly 700 Dogs Voluntarily Surrendered

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Rescues Come to the Rescue

BERRIEN CO, Ga. – Word spread fast on social media that hundreds of animals were being transported out of a breeder’s care last week. Rescues locally and from different counties – and states – were coming together to save the animals.

Misinformation quickly spread.

One thing stood out. People – lots of people – cared.

Berrien County Sheriff Ray Paulk wanted to set the record straight regarding what his office had discovered and what has been done.

The dogs were in the possession of Reason Craig Gray of Nashville, Ga.,a licensed breeder through the Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture, during a routine inspection of Gray’s property, were advised by Gray that he needed to voluntarily surrender the animals due to circumstances beyond his control.

“He acquired too many dogs for the operation he had,” Sheriff Paulk said.

Sheriff Paulk said that on February 28, the Department of Ag inspectors came to his office and advised him of the situation on Gray’s property.

“At that point, I contacted the Berrien County Animal Control to come in to assist in the removal of the dogs from the Gray property,” stated Paulk. “We started Thursday Feb. 28th, that afternoon, and finished by lunch March 2nd, Saturday.”

Six hundred and thirty dogs (630) – and even one cat – were voluntarily surrendered by Gray and with the help of at least two dozen rescues and agencies relocated all the animals safely.

Sheriff Paulk stated that Gray was feeding and watering the animals, but had gotten out of his depth.

Perhaps an even more important part of the story is the work of so many relentless rescues and volunteers willing to work nonstop to assist in the massive voluntary surrender, Paulk added. He noted that he was impressed with the level of commitment from so many different groups willing to invest their time and energy in such a large undertaking.

“There are no dogs on the property now,” Sheriff Paulk said in an interview Wednesday. “We did a walk through Monday at 2 p.m. and there were no more animals at that location then.”

Gray also surrendered his Pet Dealers License to the Georgia Department of Agriculture on Saturday, March 2.

Sheriff Paulk said the case is still currently under investigation.

“I would like to thank the Georgia Department of Agriculture; Berrien County Animal Control Officer, Jessica Stone; Nashville Animal Control Officer, Jody Kelly and many others,” stated Sheriff Paulk. “I would especially like to thank Debbie Rumker with USA Rescue Team out of Valdosta for her assistance in this matter and the phenomenal dedication of so many others outside the area who were willing to come and help.”

Sheriff Paulk emphasized that there had never been any indication that Gray had a problem with his breeding operation.

The Department of Agriculture, the issuer of Gray’s license, is the overseer of such an operation with scheduled inspections.

USA Rescue out of Valdosta spearheaded the majority of rescues and stated on their Facebook page:

“As many of you already know, the USA Rescue Team was asked to lead the removal of pets from a breeder’s property over the weekend. Our team was the only rescue permitted on the property so we had a lot of work to do! (The official count will be released by authorities)

The USA Rescue Team took in 45 dogs from the breeder and 2 dogs that were already in the shelter!!! We now have 5 of those 47 that will need to undergo “major” vet care.

Our team had boots on the ground, both day and night, and spent a quite a bit of our funds purchasing supplies to assist. We utilized all of our resources to help hold these pets at another location until other really great rescues could come in to retrieve pets.

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to MATCH, dollar for dollar, donations to the USA Rescue Team, up to $5,000 from this post! We have one week to see how much will be matched. We could not be more thankful!

While other rescues that took in very few pets have raised a lot of funds, we have not. This generous donation will certainly help the USA Rescue Team with our recovery and, most importantly, with making sure these pets receive what they deserve… A BETTER LIFE!

Your DONATION will mean twice as much for the pets!

Let’s do this🐾

USA Rescue Facebook page

The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County posted on March 3:

“Over the last four days, the HSVLC assisted in the dismantling of one of the larger breeding/hoarding situations in Georgia history. USA Rescue Team did a phenomenal job coordinating the effort with many rescue groups who participated, and HSVLC was grateful to assist.

The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County and especially our transport coordinator, Tim Hill, assisted by transporting approximately 250 animals off of the property and to a safe, staging area where other rescues coordinated transfers of these animals to other rescue organizations in our state as well as neighboring states.

We cannot share details of this case.

Of the 250 dogs that we transported to the staging area, we were able to further transport ten of the 630 dogs found on the property. Many of the dogs were coated in feces, had extremely overgrown nails and damaged teeth.

They have never known a quiet life of love outside of a cramped cage. Ours and many other rescues worked together over several days to get every dog off of the property and into a rescue where they will be assessed, vetted, and rehabilitated.

This morning, we transported ten dogs to Atlanta Humane Society where they will receive much needed love and care!

We would like to thank Tim, our transport program coordinator, who worked tirelessly through the night at the location and used our transport trailer to move these dogs out as fast as possible. We would also like to thank the volunteers that were at our building through the night who spent hours cutting out matted fur, giving baths, and loving these poor dogs. They were shockingly trusting and calm as if to say ‘thank you for saving me. I know you are here to help.’ Please say a prayer for those pups as they set out to find a new life and for every person involved in this, for it was truly a team effort involving many people and many rescue organizations.

The HSVLC is strictly nonprofit and relies solely on donations to continue the work that we do. To support this effort and to help us continue our mission we ask that you please donate to our cause!

PLEASE NOTE: All dogs in this post are at Atlanta Humane Society recovering and getting ready to become adoptable. We no longer have any dogs in our care. If you are interested in adopting a dog from this case locally, please check out USA Rescue Team and BARC Humane society.

HSVLC Facebook page

The Leon County Humane Society (LCHS), as reported by WTXL, took in 76 of the 630 dogs – one of the largest rescue missions it has ever undertaken. By Tuesday, all 76 dogs had been matched with foster homes where they are learning to become companion animals.

Most of the dogs were small breeds – poodles, Maltese, Shih-Tzus, ranging in ages from two to nine years old.

Gray had all intentions of selling these generally high-dollar breeds, but the amount of grooming required and general vetting and upkeep is not small.

Many of the dogs needed grooming due to their breed

The Berrien County Animal Shelter listed the following as the rescues that took dogs from the licensed breeder in Berrien:

  • USA Rescue Team (Valdosta)
  • Southlake Animal League (Clermont, FL)
  • Leon Co. Humane Society (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Nassau Humane Society (Fernandina Beach, FL)
  • A Paw and a Prayer JC, Inc. (Gray, GA)
  • Pawsome Southern Rescue (Perry, GA) (transferred dogs to Critical Care for Animal Angels in Byron, GA)
  • United Yorkie Rescue, Florida Corp (Amherst, OH)
  • All for One Pet Rescue, Inc. (Boynton Beach, FL)
  • Georgia Animal Rescue and Defense, Inc. (Pembroke, GA)
  • Pixel’s Possee
  • Angel’s Among Us Pet Rescue (Alpharetta, GA) (transferred some pets to Releash Atlanta
  • Ruff Dog Rescue, RDR, Inc. (Milton, GA)
  • Rufuge Rescue (Woodstock, GA)
  • Paw Paws Pet Rescue (Yulee, FL)
  • BARC Humane Society (Quitman, GA)
  • The Rescue Ranch, Inc. (McRae-Helena, GA)
  • S.O.S. Pet Rescue (Macon, GA) (S.O.S. pulled many pets to disperse to surrounding area rescues. Please contact them and they can get you in touch with the rescues they sent pets to)
  • Florida Pointer Rescue (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
  • SAFE Pet Rescue (St. Augustine, FL)
  • Tift Animal Rescue (Tifton, GA)
  • Wags Rescue (Jesup, GA)
  • TriState Pet Rescue (Blue Ridge, GA)
  • Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes (Valdosta, GA) (transferred some pets to Atlanta Humane Society)
  • Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue (Tallahassee, FL) (transferred some pets to Florida Little Dog in St. Cloud, FL, A New Beginning in Orlando, FL; and Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, Orlando, FL)