Nine dogs have been in what you could call "solitary confinement" at the Humane Society of South Mississippi for the past seven months.
"The affect on the dogs is terrific, psychologically," says Humane Society Executive Director Pat Bushman. "They are very unsocialized. We can't put them together. They stay in cages by themselves, day in day out, night in night out."
They're here at the Humane Society of South Mississippi, not because they did anything wrong, but because, according to Animal Control Officials, their owner did. He's charged with animal cruelty.
"This is the second court case involving this man with the same conditions in 1998, so we believe that he should be barred from having animals again," says Bushman.
But until legal proceedings are exhausted, Bushman says the court has been content to leave them here. She says the stress of being held is showing.
"They start to pace their cages," says Bushman. "They start to spin. They start to get spooked by the least little thing. For example, one of them tried to attack a rock the other day."
While Pat admits this is an unusual animal cruelty case, she says what's not so unusual is for the judge to release animals to them before a case is finally settled in court. She says in this particular case that may be the only decent thing to do.
"If we could get support of the community behind us to get in touch with the judge or the prosecutor and let them know that we really do care about this," says Bushman.
Pat believes that some of the dogs could be rehabilitated and adopted out. But for the older sicker dogs, she says even death is better than this.