Dogs from alleged puppy mill being treated; suspect arrested - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Seized dogs in alleged puppy mill being treated; suspect arrested

James Thornhill. Image source: Walthall County Sheriff's Department. James Thornhill. Image source: Walthall County Sheriff's Department.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

A Tylertown man is charged with animal cruelty in connection to that suspected puppy mill in Walthall County. Sheriff's officials say James Thornhill, 72, turned himself in Tuesday and was released on his own recognizance.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, Thornhill is also a Louisiana pastor. He has a plea date on June 20th. Authorities believe he owns the 104 dogs that were rescued Monday. Of those, 102 were taken to the Humane Society of South Mississippi where they are getting a lot of TLC.

Under the buzz of fans, dozens of dogs romped around in the cool comforts of their temporary home. Many were also clamoring for attention. Humane Society of South Mississippi officials said it was a whole new experience for the animals.

"We think yesterday was the first time that a lot of these animals saw sunlight and felt grass under their feet, so we're really excited to be able to start their new lives," said Krystyna Szczechowski, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society of South Mississippi.

All 102 dogs seemed to be adjusting to their new environment after they were rescued from what Humane Society officials describe as horrible conditions at a suspected puppy mill in Tylertown.

"We've seen deplorable conditions before with the Stone County puppy mill, but this was beyond that. There was no ventilation. There was no access to light, no sunlight, no electrical, no light whatsoever," said Szczechowski. "It feels amazing to pull these animals out of these terrible conditions, and know that could have been the first time they've ever actually felt human hands, they've ever seen sunlight."

Most of the dogs range from eight months to eight-years-old. They are primarily pure-bred Yorkies, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Dachshunds. They've already received their first shots, flea treatments, and full veterinary examinations. They'll also get their pictures taken and conditions documented, so the information can be used as evidence in the case.

"It feels so good to be able to give them their second chance. Honestly, for most of these dogs, it's their first chance," said Szczechowski. "They are really cute. A lot of them have great personalities that are already shining through."

A few of the animals are still skittish around humans. However, the Humane Society hopes to have all of the dogs available for adoption in a few weeks.

"We're giving them extra time to get used to being around people, being around light, being around air. We're giving them that time, but we're very hopeful that we can place all these guys into special homes. We can't wait for that day," said Szczechowski.

On Thursday, the dogs will be bathed and groomed. On Friday, they will be treated for skin problems and old injuries. WLOX will let you know when the adoptions will take place.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Parents make heartbreaking decision over son with autism

    Parents make heartbreaking decision over son with autism

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:10 AM EDT2017-05-24 15:10:16 GMT
    KMOV has chosen not to identify him by name or show pictures of what he currently looks like. (Credit: Wallens)KMOV has chosen not to identify him by name or show pictures of what he currently looks like. (Credit: Wallens)

    A parent's love knows no bounds. But what happens when you truly believe your child is going to harm himself or someone else? One family tells News 4 they made a heartbreaking decision about their son with autism, all because they felt they had no other options. 

    More >>

    A parent's love knows no bounds. But what happens when you truly believe your child is going to harm himself or someone else? One family tells News 4 they made a heartbreaking decision about their son with autism, all because they felt they had no other options. 

    More >>
  • Breaking

    Kirbyville High School principal resigns, then shoots, kills self in parking lot

    Kirbyville High School principal resigns, then shoots, kills self in parking lot

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:31 AM EDT2017-05-24 15:31:33 GMT

    Following his resignation Tuesday afternoon, the principal of Kirbyville High School walked out his truck, where he apparently shot and killed himself, according to police.

    More >>

    Following his resignation Tuesday afternoon, the principal of Kirbyville High School walked out his truck, where he apparently shot and killed himself, according to police.

    More >>
  • Deadly virus threatens local crawfish industry

    Deadly virus threatens local crawfish industry

    Tuesday, May 23 2017 7:26 PM EDT2017-05-23 23:26:19 GMT

    A deadly virus is threatening the crawfish industry in Southwest Louisiana. It's called white spot syndrome virus and it was first discovered in Thailand, but somehow it made its way to ponds in South Louisiana and specialists are struggling to find the funds to research a solution.  “The catch was increasing and increasing and then it dropped 70% and that's when you saw the dead crawfish floating in the water,” said a crawfish farmer of 34 years, Ian Garbarino. He...

    More >>

    A deadly virus is threatening the crawfish industry in Southwest Louisiana. It's called white spot syndrome virus and it was first discovered in Thailand, but somehow it made its way to ponds in South Louisiana and specialists are struggling to find the funds to research a solution.  “The catch was increasing and increasing and then it dropped 70% and that's when you saw the dead crawfish floating in the water,” said a crawfish farmer of 34 years, Ian Garbarino. He...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly