PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — Last month, 52 dogs were rescued from a home in Pell City, resulting in a 73-year-old man being charged with dozens of counts of animal cruelty, law enforcement and court documents confirm.
Jerry Goodwin, of Pell City, was formally charged Thursday with 49 counts of animal cruelty and two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. Juana Corbin, public information officer with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, said Goodwin turned himself in to police Thursday and has since been released.
According to court documents, St. Clair County deputies were called to a home on Cook Springs Road in Pell City on July 2 regarding a neighbor’s report of dozens of dogs that were being mistreated next door. The neighbor claimed that Goodwin was intentionally withholding food and water from the dogs and that the water at his home had been turned off, keeping her from watering the dogs herself.
Arriving at the property, deputies found that most of the dogs were being kept in small pens or chained outside in 91-degree heat. Two dogs were found dead on the property and are believed to have died from neglect. Deputies did not find Goodwin at the home.
Due to the number of animals that had to be dealt with, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office recruited Pell City Animal Control, Lincoln Animal Control and Moody Animal Control to assist.
Stephanie Salvago, director of public relations for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, said they took in the dogs, most of whom were smaller breeds, such as chihuahuas. Of these, 16 were sent down to the Humane Society of Tampa for adoption, the group confirmed. The HST said they received some of the dogs from a “hoarding situation” in Alabama, although police have not referred to it as such.
Law enforcement have not specified where Goodwin was at the time the dogs were rescued. Corbin said that in the weeks leading to his arrest, Goodwin was in the hospital due to a “lengthy illness.”
Goodwin has a court date scheduled for Aug. 18.