Dogs line almost every hallway at HSPC's building off of Colonel Glenn Road - all once evidence in the Lonoke County prosecutor's case against Sandra Nance, the woman accused of animal negligence at her breeding facility.
The case dragged on for two years before being decided in May. Andrea Underwood, president of the board at the Humane Society of Pulaski County, said the judge chose only 13 dogs at random to be part of the court case against Nance. Underwood claims having 160+ dogs involved in the case would have tied up the case even longer.
"They looked at 13 animals and of the 13 animals she was convicted of five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty," recounted Underwood.
The five dogs in the deemed "abused" in the case will remain with HSPC, but the other 164 dogs will return to Nance. The case went to all the way to the Arkansas Supreme Court, but they determined they had no jurisdiction in the case. Relegated back to Lonoke County the judge ruled in favor of Nance.
"A lot of the dogs were heavily matted," said Teresa Medlock, staff veterinarian for HSPC. "A lot of them had medical issues that needed to be addressed - you know eye injuries, eye infections, skin infections, fleas."
And the Humane Society believes returning the dogs to Nance would be a huge mistake.
"We don't have a choice," said Underwood. "We have a court order and if we don't comply with that court order then we will be held in contempt of court and have charges filed against us."
Nance's attorney, Jerry Sallings, said his client maintains she took good care of the animals and adds that she was concerned for the dogs well-being in the custody of HSPC.
In a statement, Sallings said:
"Ms. Nance is relieved, over-joyed and vindicated. She has been very concerned about the welfare of her dogs over the last two years that they have been kept at the PCHS. After learning through this process that at least 21 of her dogs died there and others suffered avoidable injuries; and also seeing the confined containers that these dogs were forced to live in at PCHS, she is very comforted to know that the dogs will finally be freed from these conditions."
HSPC acknowledges that six adult dogs and six newborn puppies died in the care, in addition to 11 stillborn puppies, however they maintain their deaths had nothing to do with insufficient care.