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2 Long Beach women charged with 128 counts of animal cruelty

January 18, 2012 |  6:16 pm

Animal cruelty charges
Two Long Beach women who operate a dog rescue shelter were charged with animal cruelty in Tennessee after they were found with found more than 100 dogs crammed into the back of a truck with no food or water.

Bonnie Sheehan, 55, and Pamela. A. King-McCracken, 59, who operate Hearts for Hounds, were driving a U-Haul truck that was pulling a minivan east of Memphis when they were stopped Tuesday morning by a state trooper, authorities said.

Authorities said 21 dogs were found inside the minivan and that at least 107 others were discovered amid unsanitary, dangerous conditions in the back of the truck. There also was one cat in the truck.

"Some animals were in cages, but many were loose inside the cargo compartment. Officers noted urine and feces all over the cargo compartment and located no food or water provided to the animals," the Shelby County district attorney general said in a statement.

The women told investigators that they were driving to Virginia. They were planning to hold adoptions in Roanoke and Huddleston, according to a post on their website.

Sheehan and King-McCracken were charged with 128 counts of animal cruelty, prosecutors said. The animals were placed in protective custody.

On Wednesday, local news organizations reported that officials revised the number of dogs found to 140. Officials with the attorney's general's office were not available Wednesday afternoon to confirm those reports.

As the women were preparing to leave Long Beach on Sunday, they were visited by an officer from the city's Animal Care Services office, which had received a complaint, according to a report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram. The report said it was unclear whether the officer fully inspected the vehicles and saw the dozens of dogs inside.

John Keisler, acting manager of the agency, did not respond Wednesday afternoon to interview requests from The Times.


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Photo: Animal control officers round up dogs that were being transported by two Long Beach women.

Credit: Kyle Kurlick / Associated Press