UPDATE: Peterson signs over animals to HES - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Peterson signs over animals to HES

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SEQUATCHIE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE:  The man at the center of an animal hoarding case has signed over at least some of the animals. 
 
Late Friday afternoon Geoffrey Peterson signed over the animals housed at the Chattanooga Humane Society.
 
It is not known at this time if he also signed over the animals housed at McKamey. 
 
Peterson faces several charges of animal cruelty after more than 60 animals were rescued from his property. 
 

UPDATE: Geoffrey Peterson, 54, is now out on bond but could have another charge added to his case.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Strain filed a motion asking the judge to make Peterson responsible for all costs to care for the animals.

It's costing local animal shelters around $4,000 a week to care for more than 70 rescued animals.
        
If the judge approves the motion, Peterson has 10 days to start taking on that weekly bill.
      
If Peterson doesn't pay, he would give up his rights as owner, and the pets would be eligible for adoption.

"The sooner we can get the animals in a posture where they can be adopted through the normal adoption procedures, I think would be best for the animals," said Strain, "But we have to go through the process, so that's what we're working on."

Strain says this is a complicated case because of the number of animals found on the property.     
       
He's still collecting pictures from the Humane Society and getting vet reports documenting the conditions of all animals.

 


ORIGINAL STORY: A judge granted Geoffrey Peterson a $10,000 bond under one condition, he is not allowed to care for or have control over any animals.

In total, 59 dogs, 10 cats, a pigeon and a goat were found in deplorable conditions in his Austin Road home in Dunlap.

Four dogs were even found dead in a freezer.
       
Their owner, Geoffrey Peterson, 54, was released from Sequatchie County jail on Tuesday on bond.

READ MORE | Sixty dogs rescued from Dunlap home in “absolute filth”

"The amount of the bond was not my primary concern," said Asst. DA Steve Strain, "Our primary concern was making sure he doesn't have anymore animals."
   
Peterson is accused of keeping more than 70 animals in some of the worst conditions ever seen in Sequatchie County.

"I've been a prosecutor for 24 years, I've never seen a hoarding case like this in our district," Strain said.
     
Peterson is charged with four counts of aggravated animal cruelty, one count of animal cruelty, and felony possession of morphine.
     
But his lawyer says Peterson never intended to hurt his animals.

"He is someone who is very hurt by the charge of animal cruelty," said Attorney Benjamin McGowan, "Because he is someone who truly cares for and sees these pets as his children."
     
Mcgowan says Peterson would take his animals to several veterinarians for treatment, spending more than $40,000 a year.

"Spending many thousands of dollars on their care," McGowan said, "Having chemotherapy treatments done, having dialysis done on these animals. this is someone who truly cares for these pets."

Inside the Dunlap home deputies found more than half a gram of liquid morphine. McGowan says that's because Peterson is a registered nurse, but only the animals were living at the property.

"The conditions inside the house were deplorable at best," Strain said, "The smell was atrocious. the animals were living in their own filth."
   
His lawyer admits Peterson may have been taking in more animals than he could care for.

"He's very tender hearted and is possibly the victim of his own good intentions in many ways," McGowan said.

The District Attorney's Office says the cost to care for all of Peterson's animals is nearly $4,000 a week, according to the Humane Society.

Strain filed a motion to make Peterson responsible for that bill.
     
As of now, the animals are still part of the investigation and can not been released for adoption.

READ MORE|UPDATE: Sixty dogs rescued from Dunlap home in “absolute filth”

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