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Man arrested for cruelty to animals

Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and Decatur County Animal Control responded to a complaint on Smithtown Road on Tuesday, where they arrested Ryan James Scribner for aggravated cruelty to animals after finding several animals deceased and in grave conditions.

Joseph Pelliter contacted DCSO and Animal Control Tuesday after he noticed several animals deceased in the property adjacent to his. According to reports, Pelliter told officers Scribner had a number of pigs, goats, horses and possibly cows in a small pen on his land, but several of the animals were deceased and had not been removed from the pen and were starting to smell.

DCSO Investigator Terry Phillips arrived on scene and located the pen, where he found a deceased calf, a deceased young donkey and an adult donkey that appeared to be in “deplorable physical shape.” However, Phillips also noted that in the same pen were four horses, a pig and several goats that appeared to be in healthy conditions.

Philips and Animal Control Officer, Jeff Turner found fresh water and a partially eaten bale of hay for the animals, but no green vegetation or grain feed available for the animals.

Philips questioned Scribner about the deceased animals; he told officers he had been very busy with his faming operation and could not recall when he last saw the deceased animals alive. Scribner further explained a farm hand had made him aware of the deceased calf, but he was not aware of the deceased donkey or other frail donkey. Phillips reported the frail donkey appeared to have been down for several days, unable to walk. 

Turner contacted Dr. Cliff Bailey, DVM to respond to the scene. Dr. Bailey arrived and conducted examinations on both the deceased animals and the frail donkey and reported the animals all were suffering from neglect. He also stated that the bale of hay present was not enough nutrition to sustain the animals. Upon further examination, Dr. Bailey recommended the frail donkey be euthanized to which Scribner consented.

Phillips then sent photographs of the dirty pen and grounds, along with living and deceased animals to Dr. Marcus Webster, DVM for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Webster stated that in his professional opinion Scribner was not practicing customary normal animal husbandry practices.

Pelliter also disclosed to Phillips that on several occasions, he and his wife have witnessed the animals not having food or hay to eat for several days so they would feed the animals corn or lettuce.

After consulting with both doctors, Pelliter and Turner, Scribner was arrested on felony charges of animal cruelty with a bond of $5,700.