Warning: This article might disturb some readers.
A University of Georgia student has been charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty for allegedly beating a litter of puppies to death. Athens police said Ashley Council, 20, violently killed the weeks-old puppies and left them in a box behind a convenience store last month.
Police traced a shipping label on the box, which originally held a comforter from JCPenney, to Council. Animal control officers also found a long metal pipe on top of the box that held the seven puppies’ bodies. Council was arrested early Thursday morning and taken to Athens Clarke County jail. She was released on $7,000 bond, $1,000 per count.
Council said she had been advised by her parents not to talk about the charges. “All I can say is I did not do what they are accusing me of,” she said.
Council had been employed as a clerical worker at UGA’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital since last August. She was suspended from her job Monday, pending the outcome of the investigation, UGA officials said.
Athens-Clarke County Police Detective Rebecca Taft said the puppies were covered with bruises and some had open wounds. “They suffered,” Taft said. “They were all huddled together in a little bunch.”
Taft said the black, tan and white puppies were a small breed mix and she estimated their age between seven and eight-weeks-old. “It was too early to tell what kind of dogs they were going to be,” she said.
Doctors at the vet teaching hospital, where Council works, performed a necropsy on the animals on September 12 to determine the cause of death. Council was a part-time student clerical worker and her job did not involve contact with animals.
Taft said Council adopted a dachshund from Animal Control in June. She called Animal Control the morning she allegedly killed the puppies to ask about surrendering them. She was told she could bring the puppies in, said Patrick Rives, animal control superintendent.
“She was told all she had to do was live in Clarke County and it wasn’t a problem.” The student was not supposed to have dogs in her apartment, Taft said.
On her Facebook Internet profile, Council said she is a 2005 graduate of Stockbridge High School majoring in pre-law and political science. She lists “Animal Planet” among her favorite television shows and belongs to a group called “Animal Rights.”
According to Kim Ellis, director of Student Judicial Programs, all cases made against UGA students by Athens-Clarke Police are reported to her office for evaluation under the student code of conduct. Penalties can range from writing an essay to expulsion, depending on the severity of the finding.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Public Domain