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Details emerge on conditions at puppy mill raided March 13

Reports by investigators from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) have been released which detail the conditions at Sweet Basil Kennels on Johnstonville Road which was raided by authorities March 13. GDA inspectors Tommy Sheffield and Robin Flory and LCSO investigators Chad Payne and Tim Clift went to the kennel at 11 a.m. after reports owners John David Matthews and Latitia Matthews were selling sick puppies after being ordered to stop in September 2018. They spoke to Mrs. Matthews and asked to see the kennel which consisted of 18 outdoor runs under a tin roof. A foul odor on the property was noted and determined to be coming from the carcasses of dead pot-bellied pigs around the property, in a pig pen and in one of the dog runs. Two runs held 14 older German Shepherd puppies which were badly underweight. A dead pig was found in a run with a red poodle and another adult dog. Some of the runs had not water and others had dirty water containing feces. Latitia Matthews walked through the kennel with the inspectors and investigators, saw the conditions and said she had been sick and unable to care for the dogs properly. ‘(Latitia Matthews) did see the dead pig carcasses but did nothing to remove them and made no effort to feed any of her animals during the inspection or clean water containers. She simple added water to a couple of the containers already in the pens and went back up to the residence,’ the report states. John David Matthews and Latitia Matthews were arrested on a total of 106 charges and released two days later on bonds of $86,500 each. According to sources at the Atlanta Humane Society and Furkids rescue, at least two dogs found at the kennel were missing from area owners and have since been returned. Interim district attorney Elizabeth Bobbitt said the investigation remains active and more charges could be forthcoming regarding the missing dogs found at the kennel. The case will likely go the the June term Lamar County grand jury. Of the 44 dogs removed from the property, almost all have been adopted out and are now in good homes.

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