Click here to watch a video of the Loonie Farms Rescue Shelter site in Long County.
Hundreds of bones and animal carcasses were uncovered Monday morning by local animal-rescue groups at the site of Loonie Farms Rescue Shelter in Long County. Representatives from local shelters and animal-welfare organizations said they received word from Christiane Judd that she was closing up Loonie Farms and not returning.
Thinking they would collect homeless pets to care for, the representatives who showed up to assist instead were horrified to find decaying carcasses of dogs, cats and other animals strewn throughout the rear-end of the 10-acre property. Some of the bones collected appeared to have been punctured by bullets; other carcasses still had collars and leashes wrapped around their necks.
“It’s not the kind of case you see a lot of. Most people care for their animals and don’t commit these kinds of neglectful acts,” Long County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Detective Tom Sollosi said as he took statements from witnesses Tuesday afternoon.
James and Christiane Judd were leasing the property from James and Tina Guest. Tina Guest said she was stunned when she received word this morning about what was found on her property.
“I am just sick,” she said Tuesday. “I didn’t know about this until today — this morning. I want her to be arrested for animal cruelty. I think she should be arrested and arrested today,” Guest said of Christiane Judd.
Sollosi said law-enforcement authorities still are investigating the case, which is tied to other alleged crimes that James Judd may be involved in.
“I’m out here investigating a couple of different things,” the detective said. “Most importantly, the cruelty to animals accusations and the theft allegations. It appears there has been stolen property here, and we have recovered stolen property near here and from here in the past. We want to continue to look for any potential stolen property, file proper charges and return any stolen property to its rightful owners.”
James Edward Judd was arrested last week after discovering he was in possession of a stolen Shadow mobile trailer.
“James Judd was on parole when he was found to be dealing in receiving stolen property so he was re-arrested on those charges,” Sollosi said. “His parole was subsequently revoked and he was sent back to the Georgia Department of Corrections Pardon and Parole facility.”
Sollosi said he had received several reports from concerned citizens in the past and based on those reports, authorities obtained a search warrant and met with Christiane Judd a few weeks ago.
“We did a brief investigation and a joint inspection of the facility with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Secretary of State office, because they are the entity responsible for issuing the licenses for rescues and shelters, and the Long County Sheriff’s office,” he said.
Sollosi said Judd cooperated with the investigation and said she was doing what she could to care for the animals.
“Mrs. Judd was cautioned very sternly about the condition of the shelter by the representatives from the Department of Agriculture and we made some corrections,” the detective said. “We wanted to assist her where we could … She had indicated that she had the desire to assist and care for the treatment and sheltering of stray animals out of the goodness of her heart and I can’t help but feel that she mislead a lot of people.”
Workers were able to rescue a few animals, including three small kittens and a dog.
“Animal Haven of Hope has temporarily taken three kittens that we found in a barrel out here,” said Dawn Strykr of AHHS. “We are bottle-feeding them at this time and when they are ready, we will have them spayed and neutered and adopted out.”
Strykr said they started suspecting there may be problems and had heard tales of possible animal abuse.
“Many different people from different places around this area suspected that they were shooting dogs out here,” she said. “That they were taking in dogs and items and keeping the items and shooting the dogs. One rescue group that I know of transferred 30 dogs here and about $15,000 worth of property and inventory and we found out later that the dogs were most likely shot.”
With the discovery of the bones, Strykr fears it will affect other organizations as well.
“There is a lot of emotion … in the beginning, nobody suspected anything,” she said. “We had high hopes for this place and we trusted and one of the things that I would like to say is that I hope this doesn’t take away from the respectable organizations that are still out there.”
The Courier will continue to follow this story and will report more on the investigation in Friday’s edition.