Long County authorities still are searching for Christiane Judd, the owner of the now-defunct Loonie Farms Animal Rescue in Ludowici, where countless animal remains were discovered the morning of May 16.
Warrants have been issued by the LCSO citing cruelty to animals (felony), making false statements (felony) and giving false name (misdemeanor).
Judd last was seen May 15 when she met with Animal Haven of Hope Society Vice President Kim Hankerson. Judd told Hankerson she was closing up the shelter for good. The next day, several volunteers representing animal-rescue groups went to Loonie Farms to gather homeless pets and remove debris. Instead, they happened upon a gruesome scene. Bones and decaying carcasses were scattered around the back of the 10-acre site. Only a few animals were found alive.
The discovery of the remains left many to wonder how such a horrific scene could unfold, especially when authorities said they inspected the facility in April as part of a joint effort that involved deputies from the sheriff’s office, representatives from the secretary of state’s office and inspectors from the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Protection Division and Equine Division.
The Courier filed an open-records request with the Department of Agriculture for the records of all Loonie Farms inspections, violations and complaints, along with the vaccination and disposal records for the animals housed there.
Within 72 hours, the Department of Agriculture replied, “The investigation is still ongoing. Information for dissemination is not available until the investigation is closed.”
Venessa Sims-Green, director of the Animal Protection Division for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, said Wednesday that the investigation still is open and added that they had issued eight violations during the April inspection.
“There was a violation for sanitation, record keeping, pest control and five counts of waste disposal,” she said.
Sims-Green confirmed that animal remains were found during the April visit, and three horses immediately were relocated due to a need for better care.
“But the rest of the companion animals that were found on the property were receiving what appeared by my staff to be adequate and humane care,” she said.
She said a subsequent visit after the remains were reported yielded new facts in the case.
“When I spoke with my staff members, there was a significant increase in the number of remains that were found from the time we were out in April and the time we went back out in May,” she said.
Last week, the Department of Agriculture requested that Long County dispose of the remains pursuant to Georgia code, which requires that dead animals must be disposed of by any of the approved methods within 24 hours after death or discovery.
Many of the volunteers who discovered the remains pitched in to help with the cleanup efforts. They returned Saturday and held a memorial for the animals that died.
Some questioned whether James Judd would be charged as he reportedly was Loonie Farms’ lone corporate officer. Judd has been incarcerated for several months after he was found dealing in stolen property, a violation of his parole.
LCSO Detective Tom Sollosi said charges against James Judd are possible, “but it was not a corporate event. It would be an individual act,” he said, explaining that Christiane Judd was the individual responsible for the animals’ care.
“All I can say is that we are still looking for her,” Sollosi said.
“In this particular instance, we are working with Long County authorities to see how we can proceed,” Sims-Green said. “We have to wait and review all the facts pertaining to this case before we make a final determination on the case.”
Anyone who knows anything about Christiane Judd’s whereabouts should call the LCSO at 545-2118.