The animals were taken from the Heavenly Kennel on Cumming Highway after the Cherokee County Marshals executed a search warrant July 15 and found the animals living in what officials called “deplorable” conditions.
County Attorney Angela Davis asked the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement for voluntary and permanent surrender of the animals to the county.
“This agreement would provide for the surrender of all those animals to the county without having to go through a formal hearing before court for the custody of those animals. This would be beneficial to the county because the shelter and staff will be able to prepare these animals for adoption to get them placed in good homes, and to relieve the burden on the shelter staff,” Davis said.
The settlement agreement also provides the right for the county to recover lien costs to the amount of $50,000.
“The lien will reimburse the county for the costs occurred in caring for these animals. That lien will be placed on all property owned by the Wises for recovery at some time in the future upon their attempt to sell the property,” Davis said.
Commissioners approved the settlement agreement unanimously, but the criminal proceedings for Joy Wise, 63, and her husband, Guerry Wise, 79, are still in place.
Joy Wise was cited by the Marshal’s Office in May for 264 animal cruelty offenses and 264 animal neglect offenses, as well as an ordinance violation for operating without a business license, court records show.
Wise pleaded not guilty in magistrate court and requested a jury trial. Magistrate Judge James Drane granted the request, and the case was transferred from magistrate court to the State Court of Cherokee County, court records show.
The two are set to appear before Cherokee State Court Judge Alan Jordan for arraignment Sept. 24. They were arrested and charged with 366 counts of cruelty to animals on July 29 after Joy Wise turned herself in. Joy Wise was released on a $107,000 bond and Guerry Wise’s bond was set for $118,100.
Ready for adoption
Now that the animal shelter has legal custody of the animals, the staff is preparing the animals for adoption and will have an adoption event at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Senior Center Building for those interested in giving one of the animals a forever home.
“We are thrilled to be able to begin the process of finding these dogs their forever homes,” Cherokee County Animal Shelter Director Susan Garcia said. “Registration will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and more details can be found on our Facebook page and website.”
Cherokee County Animal Shelter also invites local businesses and groups that have supported and donated to the emergency effort during the last month to set up tables at the event.
There is a $100 adoption fee and only one adoption per household will be allowed. During the event, chaperones will escort about a dozen individuals through the adoption kennels to match each pet with the family willing to adopt it.
Those willing to adopt an animal that has not been spayed or neutered will need to pay for the adoption and then leave the animal at the shelter until the surgery is completed.