Martin woman cited for animal cruelty
By Tracy Sharp, Managing Editor
The photos of two animals emaciated at a private residence have sparked outrage as a Martin woman has been cited multiple times since 2004 for leaving her animals without food, water or shelter.
Teresa Martin-Gardner has been arrested on charges of animal cruelty where two dogs and seven puppies were found last week at a house on Davis Street. This is not the first time that Martin-Gardner has been cited on animal abuse charges.
Her first citation came in 2004 by Martin Police Department Codes Enforcement Officer Kenny Edwards who wrote “ … while investigating a robbery, the affiant observed two dogs in the lot behind the Teresa Martin’s residence that were malnutritioned, no food or water. The chains were tangled up and the dogs were unable to move about. Officer attempted to free the animals from being bound so they could not move, but was unable to do so.”
Edwards summoned investigators again last Thursday to Martin-Gardner’s same address. Officers once again found malnourished dogs tied on short chains, unable to move without food and water.
Inv. Robbie Hatler investigated the scene last week and noted that the animals were given limited movement as they were chained to trees and had no food.
“The bad thing is that these dogs didn’t have any water,” Hatler said. “That's what really makes me angry.”
Upon further investigation, Hatler found that one of the dogs had seven puppies located in an abandoned out building behind the residence.
Officer Edwards transported all seven of the animals to the city animal shelter.
“According to the suspect, her son was supposed to be taking care of the dogs,” Capt.Randall Walker said.
“She was cited another time and was told she had to take the dog to the vet and the charges were dismissed.”
Dr. Joe Adcock of the Weakley County Animal Clinic examined the dogs and the puppies citing they were in relatively good shape.
“The dogs will be moved to the Humane Society in Dyersburg to our understanding according to Dr. Adcock,” Walker reported.
The Tennessee statute’s definition of cruelty to animals defines the law as “A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:
Intentionally or knowingly tortures, maims, grossly overworks, fails to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal, abandons, transports in a cruel manner, inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain to any animal by any method including blistering compounds to the legs or hooves of horses.”
The crime is usually a first offense Class A Misdeameanor with a fine up to $2,500 and 11 months, 29 days to 30 years of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses can garner charges of a Class E Felony with fines up to $3,000 and “forfeiture of Animal/Seizure of both” as well as other sentencing provision including psychological counseling, cost of care and limited future animal ownership.
Hatler reported that once officers arrived on the scene, dog food was brought to the animals by one of the family members.
“The brown dog couldn’t stop eating,” he said.
For additional information on reporting incidents of animal abuse, contact Edwards at 731-587-5355. For donations to the Martin animal shelter, contact Martin City Hall at 731-587-3126.
Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2:14 pm