A Houston County, Alabama, grand jury has indicted Jerome Wesley Hughes of Cottonwood on 91 counts of animal cruelty, and he was arrested. The indictment stems from a January 2015 search of his residence by the Cottonwood Police Department. Officers discovered 65 dogs suffering from serious health conditions and malnutrition. The Humane Society of the United States assisted authorities with the investigation, rescue and care of the dogs, and with testimony before the grand jury. Hughes was indicted on 41 counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty and 50 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Chris Schindler, director of animal crimes for the HSUS, said: “These dogs have spent the past year going from skinny and sickly to healthy, happy family pets, and it’s been a joy to watch their transformation. We are happy to be one step closer to getting justice for the dogs. We applaud the Houston County District Attorney and Cottonwood Police Department for their dedication to seeing this case through.”

Colonel Jim Smith of the Cottonwood Police Department said: “This arrest and rescue of the dogs would not have been possible without the expert assistance of the HSUS. They provided information and personnel during every phase of this operation.”

The HSUS spent more than $830,000 caring for the dogs for 10 months while awaiting disposition. The rescued dogs have since been transported to organizations across the country that participate in the HSUS Emergency Placement Partner program. Many have already been adopted.

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