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Rescue owner cited, stripped of license

Posted: April 21, 2015 - 11:15pm

An Evans woman was recently sentenced in Columbia County Magistrate Court for failing to care for animals in the rescue she ran.

Kristi Leahey, owner of Lucky Dog rescue, pled no contest to 14 counts of failure to care for and maintain animals in Magistrate Court on Wednesday. Columbia County Animal Services dismissed the additional eight counts.

Associate Magistrate Judge Grady Blanchard sentenced Leahey to surrender her rescue license immediately, fines totaling $7,000, 1,400 hours of community service, five years probation and she must remove all animals from her Evans property within seven days. She is prohibited from owning any animals and must submit to random Animal Services inspections during her probation, submit to an immediate inspection and provide documentation for all of the outgoing animals to the state Department of Agriculture. Failure to comply with the terms of probation could land Leahey in jail for 30 days.

Three volunteers for the rescue group wrote a letter to Animal Services detailing conditions inside Leahey’s home, where the rescue was based, and regulatory and legal violations. They alleged in the letter that Leahey housed more dogs than her rescue license allowed; the rescue was a zoning problem since it was located in her home; that Leahey lied to potential adopters and didn’t provide health records such a rabies vaccinations; that animals spent more than 15 hours a day in kennels and weren’t properly cared for and fed; and that she didn’t keep proper documentation, according to the Animal Services file. The former volunteers also alleged Leahey didn’t have a 501c3 status and uses that of other rescues without their permission.

The former volunteers also accused Leahey of not paying more than $6,000 in unpaid veterinary bills, allowing animals including puppies to die in her care and keeping animals with contagious diseases like mange and worms with healthy animals.

Animal Services staff and a state Department of Agriculture employee went to Leahey’s Bristol Trail home on Feb. 9 and found eight cats and 12 dogs – in unsanitary conditions. At least 10 dogs were in kennels with their own feces and without water. Floors of nearly all rooms of the home were covered in feces and urine.

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