Neighbors shocked by animals found dead, former homeowner charged with animal cruelty

MACON, Georgia 41NBC/WMGT – More than a dozen animals were found dead inside a Macon home.

Bibb County Sheriff’s deputies and public works personnel removed 10 dead dogs and three dead cats from inside a home located at 1070 North Pine Knoll Drive in Macon Tuesday.

Lt. Randy Gonzalez said Ed Harrell had just bought the house at an auction. Harrell called 911 after he and his wife saw a dead dog on their property.

“They peered into the door, saw a dog lying just inside the door that appeared to be dead, and they saw a kennel inside the home,” said Gonzalez.

According to deputy Paul Schoenbeck’s incident report, “a foul odor came from the home and I observed multiple beer boxes and empty beer cans (best estimate approximately 1,000).

“The odor and ammonia fumes in the home caused me to have to leave the residence to catch my breath and regain balance as I was becoming light headed,” added Schoenbeck.

Through the investigation, deputies learned the previous homeowner, Catherine Lynn Smith, 50, was still living inside the house.

A witness told deputies, “she had seen Smith two days prior at the home but had not seen her since,” continued the incident report. “She stated that she knew she was an animal lover and that she worked with rescues.”

Lt. Gonzalez says investigators saw evidence Smith was staying at the house.

“One of the rooms in the home was cleaner than the rest of the house,” said Gonzalez.

Smith was arrested Tuesday and charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty.

Bibb County Sheriff’s deputies found Smith at the bar 20’s Pub on Riverside and took her into custody, according to the incident report.

“Smith was a previous employer of Macon-Bibb Animal Wellfare,” said Gonzalez.

Macon-Bibb County spokesman Chris Floore tells 41NBC Smith worked with animal welfare from August to October 2012.

Lt. Gonzalez says they are trying to determine how long the dead animals have been in the house.

“Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare told us that they appeared that they had been in the house for months,” he added.

Neighbors say they are surprised about this incident happening so close to their homes.

“They were carrying out cages containing what look like, old dried out leather,” said William Hopkins. “Then the stench hit me and it’s like yep, they’re dead all of them.

His mother Jennifer Hopkins said her family has owned their Pine Knolls Drive home since 1963. She says she had no idea anyone was living in the home.

“That’s sad. If we had known that they were not taking care of those animals, because they got a gate , a wooden gate in front of that house, we would have done something,” says Jennifer Hopkins.

Another neighbor Christopher Linder lives a couple of doors from the home where the dead animals were found. Linder says he nor his family ever smelled anything.

“When we saw the police we were very surprised,” explained Linder. “We didn’t know at the time what was going on. We thought a murder or something had happened. But we found out somebody obviously left some animals or something in the yard. It was shocking.”

Linder added he could not understand why anyone would mistreat animals.

“How in the world, are you going to leave some animals in a house to die?” he questioned.

Smith was released from the Bibb County Jail around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on a $74,100 bond.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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