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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Testimony Heard In Parrott/Animal Welfare League Lawsuit

   Testimony got underway Thursday in a lawsuit involving owners of Parrott Puppy Farm and the Lawrence County Animal Welfare League. Named individually in the civil suit is league representative Jessica Smith.

   The lawsuit was filed in the wake of an incident that occurred February 20, 2010 on the Richardson Road property of Leoma residents Rex and Jennifer Parrott.

   Saying that they were investigating allegations of animal cruelty and neglect league members, accompanied by a sheriff’s deputy, seized around 40 dogs from the premises.

Many were housed in a structure at the local landfill which at that time had been converted for use as a temporary jail facility. Others were placed into foster homes.

League officials said they had planned to allow adoption of the dogs. The Parrotts, however, were able to obtain an injunction preventing the adoptions.

   After reviewing the case District Attorney General Mike Bottoms announced that charges against the Parrots would not be forthcoming. He said that the dogs had been seized illegally, without a search warrant and ordered that they be returned.

After a designated deadline officials announced that some, but not all, of the animals had been returned. One had died after having been attacked by another dog with which it had been housed.

   Since the incident occurred league officials have maintained that the dogs were seized only after Jennifer Parrott signed documents relinquishing ownership. They allege that she violated that contract and caused them monetary loss.

They said that the dogs were checked by a veterinarian who indicated that many suffered from various dental and skin conditions.

   Jennifer Parrott has maintained that she signed the contract while under duress. She said that she only signed the document because a sheriff’s deputy told her if she did so she would not be arrested or possibly face the loss of her nursing license.

She said that she had believed the animals were being taken for inspection by a veterinarian and that they would later be returned to her.

   A jury was impaneled Thursday morning and heard witness testimony Thursday afternoon. Testimony is scheduled to resume Friday morning.

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