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Dog, owner reunited after photo runs in paper

It has long been the practice of The Herald Gazette to provide newspapers at the county polling places on election day as a courtesy to poll workers who spend long – sometimes boring – days serving voters. Monica Walters is a member of the county election board and someone handed her one of those papers on the day of the March 19 referendum on Sunday alcohol sales and funding for a new jail. ******************** NOTICE: This story and photo(s) are under copyright. They may not be republished or disseminated in any form or format – including social media – without explicit permission. ********************* That edition carried coverage of the March 13 raid on what investigators say was a puppy mill at Sweet Basil Kennels at 900 Johnstonville Rd. She was shocked to see her Texas cattle dog Skreet pictured on the front page, staring out through the wire of one of the filthy kennels. Walters does not live far from where the puppy mill raid took place. Skreet had been missing for about two months and Walters had all but given up hope of finding him when his photo appeared. She got on the phone and tracked Skreet down at Furkids Rescue in Atlanta where he went through a battery of medical tests, neutering and grooming. On April 2, Walters went to Furkids where she was joyfully reunited with Skreet who was brought back to the sprawling Walters farm in Johnstonville where he is thriving once again. Another rescue operation in this area took in several of the dogs found living in horrid conditions at Sweet Basil. One of those also turned out to be missing from a local home. The dog was filthy, emaciated and matted and suffered severe skins problems and diarrhea. She responded well to deworming and a healthy diet. The rescue operation’s owner and the dog owner have asked to remain anonymous as they fear potential retaliation. Sweet Basil owners John David Matthews and Latitia Matthews are out on $86,500 bonds on a total of 106 charges related to the puppy mill raid. The charges against them could go to a grand jury soon. Interim district attorney Elizabeth Bobbitt said the investigation is ongoing and more charges, including some involving the missing dogs found at the kennel, could be forthcoming.

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