Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Jeanna M. Gardner, 57 leaving five dogs on a neighbor’s property and caging six cats inside a van, 1 cat dies from starvation

Maryville, TN

Blount County

October 1, 2014 Louisville, TN
Shawn James Gardner, 37 leaving five dogs on a neighbor’s property and caging six cats inside a van, 1 cat dies from starvation

Maryville, TN

Blount County

October 1, 2014 Louisville, TN
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
Felony   5 dogs, 6 cats Alleged Blount County General Sessions Court

A mother and son are facing animal cruelty charges after leaving five dogs on a neighbor’s property and caging six cats inside a van they were living in, animal cruelty investigators said.

Jeanna M. Gardner, 57, and Shawn James Gardner, 37, were arrested December 31st, 2014 and each faces a charge of aggravated animal cruelty. They were released from the Blount County jail on $500 bond each pending 1:30 p.m. hearings today in Blount County General Sessions Court.

Before their court appearance Jeanna Gardner stated, "Yes my puppies were skinny, we had been battling worms." They were recently evicted, homeless trying to stay at local hotels but mostly living out of their van.

Photo's courtesy of Blount County Jail
Animal cruelty investigators with the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) ended up seizing five dogs and six cats, however one of the cats died from starvation.

BCSPCA president Gino Bachman said cruelty investigators had spent two months trying to get the Gardner's to take better care of their animals. Bachman, who is also an animal cruelty investigator, said the BCSPCA first became involved in the case back in October. He said the Gardner's had been evicted from a Louisville residence on Iddens Drive, located off Mentor Road, and had left their five dogs on a neighbor’s property. The neighbor agreed to allow the dogs to stay for two weeks, however the animals ended up there for two months.

Investigators first learned of the animals’plight after someone notified them about the dogs being underweight. Bachman said the Gardner's had left their four bloodhounds in one kennel, while a mixed-breed dog was kept in a second kennel. Bachman said investigators found the dogs were “a little thin,” but not in dire shape. Investigators would go on to learn the Gardner's were going out to feed the dogs on occasion. “They would come feed the dogs some, but obviously not enough,” Bachman said.

BCSPCA cruelty investigator Patti Patterson had gone out to look at the animals one day when the Gardner's showed up to feed the animals. She told them the dogs needed some kind of bedding as well as shelter.

Bachman said the kennel where the bloodhounds were kept had two dog houses, However, the dogs were too big to use them. In addition to the bedding, the Gardner's were told to put a tarp over the kennels. Bachman said the mother and son initially failed to follow these instructions, but investigators were able to eventually get them to put a tarp over the kennels. The dogs still went without bedding, though.

Photo courtesy of WVLT local 8 now news

On December 30th, a veterinarian went to check on the dogs after yet another concerned individual called about their condition. That veterinarian then phoned the BCSPCA after finding the dogs in bad shape.

It was at that point investigators took custody of the five dogs. “They had two or three buckets of water in there and it was black,” Bachman said. “You couldn’t even see the bottom of the bucket. It was just disgusting.” Investigators took the dogs to the Blount County Animal Center on Currie Avenue in Maryville. The following day, investigators took out warrants for the duo’s arrest.

Bachman explained they weren’t sure where to find the Gardner's since they were living out of their van. But as investigators were leaving the Blount County Justice Center after getting their warrants, staff at the Blount County Animal Center called. It turns out the Gardner's showed up at the shelter Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to get the dogs back. So investigators responded to the shelter and placed them under arrest.

Bachman said they knew the mother and son had six cats, but weren’t sure where the animals were being kept. The team then checked the first logical location, he said. “They had the van they drove up in,” Bachman said. “We opened up the back of the van and all six cats were in there, in very bad physical condition.”

The Gardner's had two cats in a wired crate, two cats confined in one pet taxi and the smallest cat — the smallest but oldest cat among the bunch — in a tiny pet taxi, Bachman said.

The cats were all treated and vaccinated at the shelter. However, one of the cats didn’t make it. The oldest cat, which only weighed 3.3 pounds, died later that night due to starvation, Bachman said.

The remaining 10 animals are still being cared for at the shelter and are improving.

Investigators said additional charges against the Gardner's could be pending.

Reference: WVLT

The Daily Times Blount County Jail
WVLT local 8 now news