Putnam County man convicted of animal abuse, gets 1-year sentence

A Putnam County man who was convicted of multiple misdemeanor counts of animal abuse was sentenced to a year behind bars, officials said.

Barry Davis was sentenced to one year in the Putnam County jail and nine years of probation for 12 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said. Davis also will have to pay more than $4,000 in restitution and court costs, and he will have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Davis was arrested in July 2008 after investigators found poorly cared for dogs at a facility he operated at his home.

About 182 dogs were found with various injuries or suffering from malnourishment.

Davis wasn’t charged with a felony because none of the dogs died directly as a result of his actions. However, two of the dogs were euthanized because of health issues once animal control rescued the dogs.

Sills said Davis was suffering from health issues, which is a factor in why he isn’t spending more time in jail.

“As none of the dogs died directly as a result of maltreatment, we couldn’t charge him with a felony,” Sills said, adding that Davis didn’t have a previous criminal record.

Sills said it was the first time in his 36-year career in law enforcement that he had seen animals kept under such conditions.

Still, he doesn’t think Davis was deliberately being cruel to the dogs.

“It’s not (a situation) where he was maliciously maltreating them,” Sills said. “But he wasn’t caring for them.”

The Putnam County Humane Society took the worst cases among the dogs, and the rest were taken by the Atlanta Humane Society.

Davis’ state business license for the operation was three weeks out of date at the time of the arrest, and he didn’t have a county business license. The dogs also hadn’t had their rabies shots.

All of the dogs were pure breeds, including dachshunds, schnauzers, pugs, Shih Tzus, poodles, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas and Maltese. Officials estimated the value of the dogs in healthy condition would have been between $75,000 and $100,000.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.