About 50 animals — some of them dead — were found abandoned Thursday at a house in the 900 block of Glenbrook Road off Forest Hill Road in Macon.
Bibb County sheriff’s Lt. Sean DeFoe said a neighbor alerted deputies about 1 p.m. that the animals were in the house. Deputies investigated, then called in the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Department.
DeFoe said Animal Welfare officers found a cat, rabbit, hamster and bird dead at the scene. They recovered several dozen more dogs and cats, along with two turtles, that were still alive in various stages of poor health and malnutrition.
Nobody was living in the house Thursday.
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The animals’ owners, Lisa Ann Murray, 47, and Stephen Darrell Jones, 54, had been in the county jail since Tuesday on charges related to squatting at that residence and another house nearby, DeFoe said.
Murray and Jones previously owned the house on Glenbrook Drive but had been evicted. The house had since been sold on the courthouse steps.
Murray and Jones are facing four counts of felony animal cruelty, DeFoe said, but that number could rise if any of the recovered animals don’t survive. The two are in jail on trespassing charges, and Murray additionally is facing a willful obstruction charge.
It marks the second time this week in Macon that officials were called to a house where a large number of animals — either dead or in poor health — were found. DeFoe said Thursday’s case is unrelated to the previous incident.
In that case, deputies charged Catherine Lynn Smith on Tuesday evening with 13 counts of animal cruelty.
In Thursday’s incident, Animal Welfare officers said they have issued previous citations to Jones regarding his animals. The officers entered the house wearing fire-issue rebreathers — similar to gas masks — to search the house for additional animals, dead or alive.
The rescued animals are scheduled to be seen by a veterinarian. On its Facebook page, Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare asked for the community’s assistance in finding shelter for other animals already at the shelter to make room for the rescued animals, which have to be held for when the case goes to court.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.