Alleged puppy mill owners, James ‘Bud’ Fair and wife, Mary Jo, have been charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty stemming from the seizure of over 100 dogs on July 16. Initially the dogs were housed at Dyersburg Fairground after the Gibson Obion County Humane Society confiscated the dogs claiming they were being neglected in a puppy mill.

The owners of the confiscated dogs, the Fairs, got a restraining order against the Gibson Obion County Humane Society, alleging that the dogs were illegally removed. A court order demanded that the dogs be turned over to the Fair’s vet, Dr. Robert Page. Deborah Lowrence refused until she was advised by an attorney to turn them over.

Dr. Jon Martin, the vet who examined the dogs at the behest of the humane society said the dogs showed classic signs of abuse such as urine burns, cuts on their feet from living in wire cases and lack of socialization.

The dogs were eventually removed from the fairgrounds and placed in the custody of Dr. Robert Page.

Some of the public outcry comes from the fact that this is not the first brush with the law that the Fair’s have faced regarding animal abuse.

In March of 2004 James William “Bud” Fair and his wife, Mary Joe Fair, were each charged with cruelty to animals on March 27, 2004 after Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society investigators found 107 dogs living in deplorable conditions on the couple’s property at 244 Harsfield Rd.

From supporters of the Fairs we hear about the one of the owners of the humane society, Deborah Lowrence and her husband, Timothy’s felony convictions.

The couple leading the effort to rescue the 137 dogs from an alleged “puppy mill” near the Elbridge community were each convicted on federal fraud charges in 2002 and 2004.

Deborah and Timothy Lowrance, formerly of Newbern, are coordinating the court case and care of the seized animals. Deborah Lowrance is director of the Gibson Obion-County Humane Society, which was formed in Dyer in February.

A former Dyersburg Police officer, she was sentenced to a two-year probation in 2004.

Timothy Lowrance served a year in prison after pleading guilty to issuing handgun safety course certificates to applicants who had not taken and passed the course.

There are also some concerns about Carol Feather of the Dyerburg Humane Society, this from a commenter named Nancy;

Carol Feather owns and runs the “Dyersburg Humane Society” which contracts out to Counties to handle their animal issues. She is listed as a “HIGH KILL SHELTER” and reports found show she destroys about 70% of the animals and puts TONS of corpses a year in the landfill.

It’s a travesty when 70% of dogs are being killed and yet they are out taking on more. It’s a travesty when TONS of dogs are being DUMPED in Landfills. Just the image of those dogs being tossed into dumpsters, thrown into garbage trucks and dumped at a landfill like disposable garbage makes me sick to my stomach.

This is the second case where it has been reported in just the last year of dogs being dumped in dumpsters and the organizations that do it see it as a normal way to dispose of a once living animal. PETA and now this organization.

Why SEIZE more dogs if your euthanizing 70% of what is being given you. Oh yeah … MONEY … the ones being given to you are seldom adoptable and draw NO NEWS/PUBLIC attention but an all out publicized case of SEIZURE brings in money by the boatload.

There are allegations that this raid on the Fairs is motivated by money only, this from another commenter;

Do you know how much Mrs. Lowrance is raking in over this publicity?
Do you trust this woman? Or even her husband for that matter.
She is a felon with donations.
I would be very leary of this woman.
Why do you think she doesn’t want to hand the dogs over with an order from the judge?
It’s not about the dogs.

And now the Fairs have finally been charged;

Authorities were serving warrants late Monday charging James “Bud” Fair and Mary Jo Fair of Obion County with 10 counts of animal cruelty, according to Deborah Lowrance, director of the Gibson and Obion County Humane Society.

Earlier in the day an Obion County Sheriff’s Department official said authorities had determined they had enough evidence to file charges against the couple regarding 10 of the more than 100 dogs that were seized from them last week. Sheriff’s Department Capt. Kent Treece said Monday afternoon that he did not know if charges would be filed or what specifically the charges might be. Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder could not be reached for comment.

Treece said Vastbinder and officials from the Obion and Weakley County District Attorney’s Office determined there was sufficient evidence after reviewing veterinarian examinations for 10 of the dogs.

According to Lowrance, the Fairs will be arraigned in Obion County General Sessions Court at 1 p.m. Thursday. She said there also will be a custody hearing at 1 p.m. Friday in Circuit Court to determine who will oversee the dogs.

Vastbinder and the Humane Society seized the dogs from the Fairs’ property July 15 after receiving an anonymous complaint that the animals were being mistreated. Calls to the Fairs’ home and the office of Mary Fair’s attorney, Jim Powell of Union City, were not returned Monday.

The Gibson-Obion County Humane Society housed the dogs at the Dyer County Fairgrounds last week, but the dogs were delivered to Dresden veterinarian Dr. Bob Page on Friday after a Circuit Court judge granted Mary Fair a temporary restraining order against the Humane Society.

Page was the dog’s veterinarian prior to the seizure. He said on Monday he could not comment on their health history because it would violate patient confidentiality.

But, Page said, “The dogs are under very competent veterinary care.”

Humane Society response
A Dyersburg attorney working for the Humane Society said he will file a response this morning to a lawsuit Mary Fair filed against the group on Friday.

Attorney Wes Shumate said he took the case after helping the group care for the dogs last week. Fair’s complaint accuses the group of violating a Tennessee law that allows certain animal advocacy groups to seize dogs when they suspect cruel treatment.

“Honestly, I don’t believe they did, and that’s what will be one of the major things we’re talking about,” Shumate said.

In addition to asking that the dogs be returned to her, Fair asks to be compensated for damages for taking her property and damaging her reputation. No dollar amount is specified in the suit. (The Jackson Sun)

I have no doubt we’re going to be hear a great deal more over this highly debated and highly disputed case.

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