A veterinarian inspected 82 dogs in preparation for their return to their owner in Lonoke County. Breeder Sandra Nance was charged animal cruelty, but a judge ruled in May that the dogs must be returned.
The Humane Society of Pulaski County kept the dogs for two years. Andrea Underwood, president of the board of directors for HSPC said it was difficult giving the dogs back to Nance on Tuesday.
"The volunteers, the kennel workers that work with these animals every day - it's going to hit us hard tomorrow when it's empty and quiet," Nance said.
Veterinarian Floyd Mann said he'll take as long as it's needed to check out each animal.
"If there's intricate stuff that has to get done, that will get done later, " said Floyd. "But as far as the routine material, that's just a general physical examination. We will make some notes what may need to be done on each dog on this stage of the game and go from there."
Nance quit her job as a registered nurse six years ago to work full time on breeding dogs at Canine Acres in Austin to sell at her pet store in Searcy called Smoochie Poochie. Nance's pet store was was closed during the time of the case.
Nance said she didn't agree with the court's original decision to take the dogs.
"They told me it was just too hot for dogs out there and the conditions looked rough around. They all had shade, they all had water, they all had been fed and they all had fans," Nance said. "I didn't raise my dogs in cages. My dogs were raised on gravel in 10 x 12 or 12 x 15 foot pins. I have air conditioned buildings out there now for most of them."
Underwood said HSPC still does not think giving the dogs to Nance was in the best interest of the dogs.
"This was not a choice from the Humane Society of Pulaski County. We were under a court order to return the dogs," Underwood said.Nance says the dogs are her property and her rights are protected by the Constitution.
"I have the freedom to do what I want to do as long as I don't abuse it," Nance said.
Nance is not sure when she will officially start selling the dogs.