UPDATE: Sandra Lee was indicted by the Murray County grand jury for 17 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. 

Seventy dogs were rescued from her home in May by the Atlanta Humane Educational Society.

A court date for Lee has not been set.


PREVIOUS STORY: Seventy dogs were rescued from a home in Murray County on Wednesday.

Crews with the Atlanta Humane Educational Society are relocating the pets and are hoping to bring them up to good health.

Investigators said a husband and wife owned the pets and the property, but have not released their names. The area where the pets were found is just over an acre, with five buildings on the property.

Some dogs were found in the homes but most were outside in the heat.

HES crews carried the dogs off the property one by one, checking them for microchips and assessing their health. 

Crews said the dogs did have food and water, but they were not in good health.

“I can tell they’re infested with fleas, ticks; mosquitoes are buzzing around, so it’s likely that a lot of these animals are going to have heart-worm disease,” said Amanda Harris with HES.

“I’ve been worried about this trailer for sometime because there’s always new dogs, there’s constant dogs,” said neighbor, Nicky Phillips. 

Murray County Animal Control got a tip about a potential puppy mill. So Tuesday night, the sheriff’s office got a search warrant for the property and found the dogs.

The next day the owners have the dogs up willingly.

“We’re very happy that we got called out when we did because the Georgia summer heat can be brutal on animals,” said Harris.

Phillips has lived near the home for four years. She said her dog, Handsome, went missing two years ago. She thought the couple living at the home may have been taking care of him. She said she walked through the home with a deputy to see if her dog was there but he was never found.

Phillips spent the day anxiously waiting to see if her dog was one of the 70 found.

“It’s mixed emotions,” urged Phillips. “I could want to hope that my dog’s there, but then again if he is, what kind of conditions has he lived in? What kind of dog would he be now?”

The Murray County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office are working together to determine if the owners will face animal cruelty charges.

The sheriff’s office said the complaint that led to discovery was the first one filed regarding the property. 

The dogs are being taken to the Atlanta Humane Educational Society, since the shelter can handle a large number of pets.

The dogs will be up for adoption as soon as they are healthy.

Anyone who is interested in adopting one can find information here


PREVIOUS STORY: A suspected animal hoarding case is being investigated in Murray County.

Channel 3 has learned around 70 dogs have been pulled out of the property that is just over an acre. Murray County Chief Deputy Jimmy Davenport says a husband and a wife own the property the dogs were on. 

A Human Society spokesperson told Channel 3 that warrants have been issued, and none of the animals have been confirmed deceased at this time.

According to Murray County Chief Deputy James Davenport, an anonymous complaint came into Murray County Animal Control Monday.

Animal control personnel investigated the complaint Tuesday and passed along information to the Murray County Sheriff's Department. The people at the residence face charges of animal cruelty.

A warrant was asked for Tuesday evening. Another warrant was executed Wednesday morning. The homeowner has given up the animals.

The Atlanta Humane Society was called in to help. A spokesperson with the Atlanta Humane Society says the dogs are fed but many are flea and tick infested, have matted fur, and have heat exhaustion.

Additional charges could be filed after all the animals are examined and cataloged.

A neighbor told Channel 3 it’s not uncommon to see multiple dogs outside the home all the time. She said it’s been a problem for years.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.