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Crime

Tate county couple sentenced for animal cruelty, operating puppy mill

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(credit: WREG News Channel 3, Memphis

Owners of a breeding business in Coldwater, Mississippi were sentenced Tuesday for multiple charges of animal cruelty in the Tate County Circuit Court. The couple was also banned from owning or possessing canines, according to the Tate Record, after a raid of their kennels in Feb. 2020 revealed nearly 200 animals in what were described as deplorable conditions.

(photo source: WMC video)

Teresa Warren Ashcraft, 68, was ordered to serve 30 days in the Tate County Jail and four years, 11 months post-release supervision after pleading guilty to one count of causing injury to a domestic animal produced for profit. She was also sentenced to three years post-release supervision to run concurrently on nine counts of causing injury to a domestic animal produced for profit.

Darrell Ashcraft, 72, was sentenced 10 days in the Tate County Jail and four years, 11 months, and 20 days post-release supervision after pleading guilty to one count of causing injury to a domestic animal produced for profit. He was also ordered to serve three years post-release supervision to run concurrently on nine counts of causing injury to a domestic animal produced for profit.

Long-haired breeds were plagued with matted, filthy fur. (credit: WREG )

On Feb. 3, 2020, Tate County deputies confiscated over 170 dogs of all ages from Ashcraft Kennels, acting on a warrant for a suspected puppy mill. The animals were found stacked atop one another in a small building behind the Ashcraft home. The dogs were said to be covered in their own filth, matted and essentially neglected.

The smell in the small shed was so intense, rescuers called the raid Operation Breathe.

The dogs’ nails had not been trimmed in some time, if ever. (credit: WREG)

“It is definitely a full blown puppy mill. Some of the dogs are in horrific shape. The ammonia level was almost unbreathable,” Tunica County Humane Society Director Sandy Williams said.

Two mothers and their still nursing litters were among the rescued. (credit: WREG)

Teresa Ashcraft reportedly ran an established breeding business, Ashcraft Kennels, advertising chihuahuas, miniature pinschers and poodles for sale.

“She has a legitimate puppy business, but that doesn’t excuse the condition the dogs were living in,” Williams told WMC on the day of the raid. “When you see dogs living this kind of life, you know they deserve so much more, it’s just heartbreaking.”

 

 

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