UPDATED: Dade County man charged again with animal cruelty - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATED: Dade County man charged again with animal cruelty

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Hillard Stevens Hillard Stevens

Story by Callie Starnes
Eyewitness News Reporter/Anchor

DADE COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)-- Deputies say they saved some pregnant goats from impending danger and arrested their owner yet again, on animal cruelty charges.

It's not the first time they've been to Hillard Stevens' home.

Authorities removed more than 30 animals from Stevens' property over the weekend.

Many were malnourished, others were dead.

As a condition of his bond last year, Hillard Stevens was told he could not own animals.

Authorities have evidence the Sand Mountain resident purchased nearly $30,000 in livestock and pets. Now some of those animals are dead.

There's little talking but plenty of eating for the herd of goats rescued by Dade County deputies.

A search warrant of Hillard Stevens' farm turned up nearly 30 animals, most showing signs of malnourishment.

"Twelve goats, one calf, four dogs, and 20 chickens, roughly 20 chickens, and 12 guineas," says Dade County Sheriff Patrick Cannon.

Animal skeletal remains were also found on Stevens' property, and it's not the first time.

Stevens was arrested in December of 2009 for stabbing two dogs.

One of those dogs died.

We visited Stevens Sand Mountain address where we found the second dog with stitches down its back.

Just weeks later, he was charged again when authorities found dead cows, dogs, and goats.

Then in February 2010, Stevens was arrested yet again, this time for killing chickens.

"There's definitely signs of a mental situation here that has to be addressed," says Sheriff Cannon.

Sheriff Patrick Cannon says Stevens has undergone mental evaluations and likely will again.

And while Cannon worries about livestock dying, he is more concerned that Stevens could hurt another human being.

"His court case is going to be coming up soon, and we've got to take it serious," says Sheriff Cannon. "He's going to hurt somebody if something is not done."

Stevens was arrested again because neighbors notified the sheriff's office.

And because Dade County doesn't have an animal control division, the sheriff's office is handling the cost of caring for the animals until a judge can place them elsewhere.

So far, it's cost taxpayers several hundred dollars.

Hillard Stevens is scheduled for court in April.



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