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February 26, 2010

Puppy Mill Operator Sentenced to 10 Years

CENTERVILLE, Tenn. —The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, applauds Judge Timothy Easter for imposing an appropriate sentence following the conviction of Patricia Adkisson, owner of Pine Bluff Kennels in Lyles, Tenn., on animal cruelty charges. 

On Feb. 18, Judge Easter sentenced Adkisson to ten years, including five years on Community Corrections where she will be heavily monitored. The remaining five years will be served under probationary supervision.  Judge Easter imposed a lifetime ban on animal ownership or association with persons or organizations who deal in animals.

In December 2009, Patricia Adkisson was convicted of 14 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and 16 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. These charges stemmed from allegations that Adkisson neglected hundreds of dogs kept in her mass breeding business, Pine Bluff Puppies. Upon sentencing, Judge Easter noted the court found there was an indefensible treatment of animals and that Adkisson exhibits a low value for life in general.

"We are grateful to the judge as well as to the 21st Judicial District Attorney General's Office for treating animal cruelty as the crime it is. Authorities are serious about enforcing Tennessee's animal protection law, and this sends a message to other puppy mill operators out there that they won't get a free ride in our state," said Leighann McCollum, Tennessee state director for The HSUS.

"By imposing this sentence, Judge Easter recognized the magnitude of the cruelty and neglect suffered by these puppies and the other animals on Adkisson's property," said  Tennessee 21st Judicial District Attorney General Kim Helper. "We appreciate the help provided to us by The Humane Society of the United States during the course of our investigation and subsequent trial."

The raid in June 2008 was set into motion by The HSUS' Tennessee state director, who received tips and worked with investigators with the 21st Judicial District Attorney General's Office to build a case against Adkisson. It was the largest puppy mill bust in Tennessee history.

The HSUS oversaw the removal of 747 animals from Adkisson's mass breeding facility. The 700 dogs and 47 other animals were taken to humane organizations across the country where they received necessary medial and behavioral care and placed up for adoption in new, loving homes.

Subsequently, The HSUS worked with the 21st Judicial District Attorney General's Office, legislators and others, including the Nashville Kennel Club, to pass legislation in Tennessee to crack down on puppy mills in the state.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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