Woman accused of cruelty, neglect must pay or lose animals

Woman accused of cruelty, neglect must pay or lose animals

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Kiln woman accused of neglect after officials seized more than 50 animals from her home was set to appear in court Friday. The hearing to determine if the animals can be returned to her care was postponed until next week.

The judge did decide to give Bonnie Heffron three days to pay a $1,000 bond for the car and maintenance of the animals. If she cannot pay, the animals will be awarded to the county.

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Right now, Heffron, 64, is facing charges of animal neglect and animal cruelty after various farm animals, including ponies, goats, rabbits, dogs, and cats, were seized from her property on Dogpatch Rd. on July 13. Most of those animals are now at the Hancock County Animal Shelter.

Toni Pickering, Director of the Hancock County Animal Shelter, said the animals were living in filth when rescuers arrived.

Neighbors said the neglect has been going on for years, and they feel helpless. Many of those neighbors were in the courtroom Friday for Heffron's appearance.

"I've seen dead horses. My granddaughter realized that a horse was dead there and she cried all the way to school," a neighbor recalled.

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"I don't like seeing helpless animals left to starve. I can't imagine that anyone else would want to do this either," said Renee Cuevas.

Friday's decision wasn't good enough for the nearly 20 animal activists in the courtroom. Unhappy with the outcome, the activists marched over to the sheriff's office and demanded the animals not be returned to Heffron's care. Sheriff Ricky Adam said it's not his decision to make.

"Sadly, it's not an isolated incident to this county, because it happens all over. People, they love their animals and they just get overwhelmed with the cause of trying to care for them," said Adam.

Cuevas says there are still some animals in Heffron's care that need to be rescued from a different location.

"There are still 12 horses and I have personally seen the horses. They appear to be in worse shape than the horses taken from the property on Dogpatch Rd.,"said Cuevas.

Adam said it will be up to a judge to decide what happens with the other animals.

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