Warnings issued to Monroe sheriff’s investigator before daughter’s animal cruelty arrest

lfabian@macon.comJune 26, 2013 

FORSYTH -- The scattered carcass of a cat litters the driveway.

Chicken coops laden with feces await visitors at the front door.

Overgrown grass masks some of the discarded household items strewn across the front lawn of a house belonging in part to Monroe County Sheriff’s investigator Beverly Aldridge.

On Tuesday, her 34-year-old daughter Angel was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals after a decomposing dog carcass was found chained on the property at 311 Blue Store Road.

Another 7-pound Chihuahua mix appeared to be malnourished with no food or water. Batman is now in the custody of Heart of Georgia Humane Society.

The sheriff’s office was called June 17 to investigate after someone spotted seven buzzards perched on the roof of the one-story brick house.

One of the birds dragged a cat that was hit by a car into the yard, a neighbor said, but no one removed its remains. Broken bones and tufts of fur were all that remained.

Dana Renaud, the county’s solid waste management director, said she had spoken to Beverly Aldridge as late as June 13 about cleaning up the property.

“I was shocked,” Renaud said after learning about the condition of the animals.

For at least six months, Renaud had relayed neighbors’ complaints about the condition of the yard, which is surrounded by manicured lawns along the country street off Juliette Road.

“You try to give them common courtesy. We’re fellow employees, but I wasn’t aware of the animals,” said Renaud, who serves as the code enforcement officer.

In that role, Renaud needs the owner’s permission to go on the property, she said.

Wednesday afternoon, two men wearing “Tim’s Small Engine Repair” T-shirts loaded a riding lawn mower and a push mower onto a trailer and hauled them away.

“Been there, cut that,” was written on the shirts of the company that only does repairs, so workers drove off leaving the tall grass just as it had been for weeks.

Renaud said Beverly Aldridge had said she was in the process of having her mowers repaired.

When asked why Aldridge was not charged in the case, Monroe County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Allison Selman-Willis said: “She is not living there right now.”

The criminal investigation is ongoing, she said, after the arrest of the younger Aldridge, who has been suspended from her job as jail secretary during the probe.

The accused has a minor son and the Department of Family and Children Services was contacted, but Selman-Willis could not discuss whether the boy was removed from the home.

No one answered a knock at the door Wednesday afternoon, although a red Pontiac Grand Am with black plastic over the driver’s side window was parked out front.

Nearby neighbors were surprised to learn Beverly Aldridge had moved as they had routinely seen her county car parked in front.

While a handful of them had plenty to say about the situation, none of them wanted to be identified in this story.

In an email Wednesday evening, Beverly Aldridge stated she was advised by attorney Karen Martin not to speak about the incident.

Martin did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Selman-Willis said sheriff’s office policy prohibits the Aldridges from officially commenting.

“It hurts it’s someone at the sheriff’s office and we hate that,” she said. “But we’re going to work this just like any other case.”

A year ago, 20-year-old Monterion Dionte Davis was sentenced to two years in prison for severely wounding a dog by tying a clothesline around its neck and leaving it leashed to a tree in Monroe County.

The mixed breed dog, later named Hope by animal rescuers, died a few weeks after it was found nearly decapitated.

Davis pleaded guilty to felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

Under Georgia law, the felony charge is reserved for someone who knowingly causes death or injury by seriously disfiguring an animal or rendering part of its body useless.

The misdemeanor charge in the Aldridge case applies to causing the death or suffering of an animal by an act, omission or willful neglect ­-- meaning the intentional withholding of food or water.

Heart of Georgia Humane Society took the surviving dog out of Monroe County’s “kill shelter” and will find him a home.

A picture of him was posted on its Facebook page.

It states Batman was found with three dead dogs on logging chains.

“We were told from very reliable sources there was more than one dead dog there,” said board member Donna Conaway, who also heard chickens on the front porch were removed from the property.

Selman-Willis said the investigative report did not mention dead poultry, or any other dead dog. Regular tie-out cables, not logging chains, were documented, she said.

The head of Monroe County Animal Control Department was on vacation and could not be reached for clarification.

Conaway said the 3- or 4-year-old surviving dog has been eating well the last 10 days, has been treated for fleas and will be neutered Monday.

“He looks a lot better now,” she said.

For the time being, he is being cared for by a woman who fosters rescued animals.

“He makes every step she makes,” Conaway said. “He is so starved for attention.”

To contact Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service