|Sydney B. Warden||neglect of 2 adult dogs, 2 dead and 3 other puppies||Tennessee Ridge, TN Houston County||November 6, 2003|
Warden, age 47 of Warden Lane, faces multiple charges stemming from the neglect of 3 puppies on his property. 2 of the pups were dead and one examined by Dr. Harold Beuerlein from Waverly Animal Clinic was found suffering from anemia, rickets worms and an ear infection. The puppies front fee bones were curved from the rickets, a disease resulting from improper nutrition.
Warden's neighbor, Mary Johnson reported seeing 2 dead puppies and reported it to the authorities. Johnson suspected one of the pups had been dead for about a week because it looked bloated and the other one was decayed. Warden was charged with a Class A misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.
(Photo's courtesy of the Leaf-Chronicle) Previously, in September, 2003 Annamaria McCoy from St. Francis Animal Rescue was called by 911 dispatch. McCoy and Kathleen Price a volunteer were met by a sheriff's deputy and escorted to Warden's property. As they were loading the puppies Deputy Sheriff Jason Laxton arrived and told McCoy to leave or else be arrested for trespassing. McCoy was told to leave the puppies or she would be arrested and the dogs would still be returned to their owner. When McCoy went to speak to the Sheriff who gave this order, the Deputy assisted the dog owner in removing the pups from the property, thus removing the evidence of this cruelty case.
On November 1st McCoy was again called to another of Warden's property by the Sheriff's brother. This time there was a small kennel where 5 pups were, 2 were dead. In the kennel was found moldy, rotten dog food, a little pan with rain water in it and maggots everywhere. The 2 dead pups were found in a plastic container and the 3 alive pups were trying to feed off the dead ones. The 2 adult dogs were not in site, but the smell pointed to a parked vehicle. McCoy requested the Sheriff, the Sheriff's brother and the Assistant DA to come to the location but no one came and no one called to say they were not coming. The Deputy Sheriff who had assisted Warden in removing the dogs in September showed up and again he ordered McCoy not to remove the 3 pups or she would be arrested.
On November 3rd Warden took one of hte puppies to a veterinarian accompanied by the Sheriff's deputy. That veterinarian told the Deputy that he could not tell if the puppy has been intentionally neglected or just out of stupidity.
On November 17th it was reported that the 3 coonhound pups now named Faith, Hope and Charity are under direct veterinary medical care with Hope weighing in at 10.7 lbs.
On March 1, 2004 a grand jury returned a no true bill, meaning the case would not move forward to a trial.
In August, 2004, 13 jurors decided Warden will stand trial for charges of unlawfully and knowingly tortured or maimed 3 puppies.
Warden was found not guilty of animal cruelty charges. As a result, St. Francis Animal Rescue has resigned as an animal control resource to the county.
Animal Legal Defense Fund