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The HSUS Offers Reward in Laurel, Miss., Dog Abandonment Case

More than 20 dogs were left to die inside a Laurel, Miss., home

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for abandoning and starving more than 20 dogs inside a Laurel, Miss., residence. The Jones County Sheriff’s Department has issued a warrant for the arrest of Linda Walker, 55, of 20 Ten Acres Road in Laurel, charging her with aggravated animal cruelty under the Mississippi Dog and Cat Protection Law of 2011. Deputies have been unable to find Walker and are asking the public to report her whereabouts.

The Case: The Jones County Sheriff’s Office gives the following account: More than 20 dogs were confined at a Laurel residence without adequate food and water over a period of months, leading the animals to turn on each other. Some of the dogs died as a result. Sheriff’s deputies removed 15 living dogs from the property between Friday and Monday, and found bagged skeletal remains behind the house and several skulls inside the home. No food or water was found. The dogs were eating each other to survive, according to evidence discovered at the scene, but due to the layers of feces and urine found at the home, deputies have been unable to count the number of dead dogs. According to witnesses, a woman would visit the property every couple weeks for approximately 10 minutes per visit. The Sheriff’s Office has issued a warrant for Walker's arrest.

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

“The conditions inside the house were traumatic for the animals and rescuers alike. The amount of filth was like nothing I have ever seen, the ammonia from urine made it hard to breathe, and the stench from the deceased dogs was overpowering. This was an egregious act of cruelty in which dogs had no chance of surviving on their own, unless they turned on themselves,” said Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “There should be nothing less than the full punishment allowed by law for the person responsible for this malicious act.”

The Investigators: The Jones County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Walker. Anyone with information about the case or with information about Walker's whereabouts is asked to call 601-425-3147.

Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, click here.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining: 240-751-3943; stwining@humanesociety.org

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