In a move that surprised and dismayed many, the more than 100 dogs seized from James “Bud” Fair and his wife Mary Jo from their 7311 Minnick-Elbridge Road property on July 15 have been returned to them.

Judge Raymond Morris accepted a plea agreement this afternoon at Gibson County General Sessions Court concerning 10 counts of animal cruelty charges against each of them.

The couple has been accused of running a puppy mill but have fought back with court action in an attempt to retrieve their dogs, which are still in the care of veterinarian Bob Page in Dresden.

The plea agreement states the case is to be continued for six months, and Page has agreed to inspect the dogs and their housing at least every 60 days.

At the end of the six-month perIod, the agreement states, Page will send a letter to the court detailing the condition of the animals.

If the animals are healthy and are being reasonably cared for, the case gainst the Fairs will be dismissed.

The restraining order the Fairs sought against the Gibson-Obion County Humane Society is still in effect until next week.

Obion County Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder and the humane society seized the dogs from the Fairs’ property, at 7311 Minnick-Elbridge Road, on July 15.

Authorities acted after receiving complaints the animals were being mistreated.

According to several affidavits of complaint filed by Vastbinder against the Fairs, three Yorkshire terriers, two of which were pregnant, and a Shih Tzu and her six puppies were examined by Dr. Jon Martin, a veterinarian at Animal Care Hospital in Dyersburg.

The affidavits said that in Martin’s opinion, the dogs were malnourished, neglected and in need of medical treatment.

The humane society housed the dogs at the Dyer County Fairgrounds last week, but the dogs were delivered to Page on July 20 under court order. (Jackson Sun)

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding this case from the beginning, much of it having to do with the legality of the dogs being seized in the first place. I believe in following the law and in this case I have heard so much from both sides that it’s difficult to know what really happened.

Regardless of who did what to whom, what does bother me is that these dogs are being return so easily to the Fairs who were charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty. Even one would be too many for me. I have heard account after account from eyewitnesses of the condition that the dogs and puppies were in when they were removed from the Fairs and that is is very hard for me to discount. And for them to be monitored by the very vet who found no problem with the condition of the dogs in the first place seems to be hypocritical. At the very least the monitoring should be done by an outside party not affiliated with the Fairs or the humane society for some sense of impartiality.

Like many, I cannot say that I am pleased with the outcome here. Too much controversy when the most important point, that so many people seem to be overlooking, is the welfare of the dogs!

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