Nearly 90 dogs seized in what authorities say was a puppy mill in Jones County are now free to be adopted or placed in foster care following a judge's ruling Tuesday.
After 88 dogs and one cat were seized on March 14th from Glenn and Joyce Brown's property, more than a month later a judge has closed the case.
Deputies say they got a complaint of animal cruelty at the Brown's Trenton home from a woman looking to buy a chihuahua. Days later, deputies and members of the Humane Society flocked to the home, serving search warrants and providing immediate medical care to the dogs found all over the property.
After being arrested in court for 63 counts of animal cruelty each, the couple then asked the court to set a bond, or the amount of money it would take so they could get their animals back.
Tuesday, 27 members of the humane society from as far as Raleigh and Greensboro sat in the courtroom. Those activists remained quiet in court, but loud yellow stickers which read: "end animal abuse" voiced their opinion.
Investigators took the stand recounting details of the case. A judge ruled the Browns will not get their dogs back. A bond was set for $30,000. The Browns waived their 5 days to get the money, and the judge gave the green light for the dogs to be adopted.
The Brown's sped off without comment, while the state director for the humane society is relieved.
"The majority of the animals will be able to be homed, which is what we've been waiting for," said Kim Alboum. "And receive the medical care that they deserve and need."
The surrender document to show if the Brown's had freely given up their animals was a point of contention in court. The Jones County Sheriff's Office says they have added a new document to their policy manual to fit these types of cases of animal surrender.
A district judge says Jones County can seize dozens of dogs from a couple who are accused of running a puppy mill.
A hearing lasted most of the afternoon in Trenton for Glenn and Joyce Brown. The legal issue revolves around the fact that Glenn Brown surrendered the dogs to the Sheriff's Office last month, but his wife Joyce says, she owns the dogs and she did not not sign to surrender.
Since the legal scuffle has been underway, the dogs have not been allowed to be adopted, even though there are families ready and waiting.
The Humane Society said last week that because of this motion and delay, other dogs would be euthanized because the Brown's dogs are taking shelter space.
The judge set two bonds, one for two dogs that belong to the Brown's granddaughter and the other for 86 canines and one cat. Since the couple cannot pay the $30,000 bond for the large group of animals, groups can now have those dogs adopted out.