Coast woman charged with animal cruelty after 30 dead dogs reportedly found on property
HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A woman is facing more than two dozen charges after more than 30 dead dogs were found on her property last week.
Jessica Collins was arrested on Wednesday just days after the horrific discovery. She is accused of one felony count of animal cruelty and 30 misdemeanor counts of simple animal cruelty.
According to animal advocate Connie Call, she was contacted on Feb. 23 and told there were multiple dead dogs on Collins’ property. Several of the deceased animals had been burned, while others were in trash bags, said Call. When she asked Collins - who also goes by the name Jessica Gallaspy - about it, she was reportedly told that the dogs were attacked by a bobcat.
When Call got to the Saucier property, she said found a stack of filled garbage bags covered in flies and smelling like death. She also found an emaciated lab in a shed with no ventilation or food and water. Near the dog was a dead buzzard, she said.
The dead animals were disposed of and more than a dozen dogs that are still alive were turned over to Humane Society of South Mississippi, said Call. Heartbroken and stunned over what she found, Call agreed to take the starving lab, who she now calls Merle.
According to Call, Collins said she was running an operation called Deep South Animal Rescue.
“It was heartbreaking to see these animals that had been trusted over to somebody that a lot of people trusted with their animals,” Call said.
A Facebook page of that same name showed posts earlier this week asking for donations to help with various projects and animal supplies. That Facebook page has since been taken down. Multiple searches through state and federal agencies were not able to confirm whether or not Deep South Animal Rescue was a 501(c)(3) organization.
Call hopes others will take notice of this tragedy.
“If you’re looking to surrender your animal for whatever reason, just do background checks on the person,” she said. “Don’t just give your animal to the first person that says they’ll take them because a lot of times, it’s not going to end well.”
According to court documents, Collins also surrendered 14 dogs she was holding on a property in Pass Christian. She bonded out of Harrison County Adult Detention Center the same day she was arrested. She is set to appear in Harrison County Justice Court on April 20.
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