GALLIPOLIS — A Patriot woman pleaded not guilty Thursday morning during her arraignment in Gallipolis Municipal Court on 95 assorted animal abuse charges in relation to an incident Aug. 11 in which 66 dogs and three horses were rescued from potentially dangerous and unsanitary conditions on Wagoner Road.
Jackie Morgan, 57, of Wagoner Road, was arraigned on 92 first-degree misdemeanor counts of abuse of a companion animal in regard to dogs and three second-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty charges regarding horses.
Morgan was present for a pending animal cruelty charge filed in March before the new arraignment. At the time, she was represented by defense attorney Bill Conley, who also accompanied Morgan to Thursday’s arraignment.
Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury represented the state at the arraignment. Judge Margaret Evans presided over the court.
As part of court proceedings, Morgan was released on an own-recognizance bond, the terms of which state she is to seek a mental health evaluation and is forbidden from having an animal in her possession.
Shortly thereafter, Morgan and Conley appeared at the Gallia County Courthouse for a hearing in which she faced a possible $35 per animal per day charge for not surrendering animals in her possession that are being cared for by the Humane Society of the United States. Currently, all animals taken from Morgan’s property are being held as evidence in upcoming court proceedings.
Morgan legally released those animals to HSUS care Thursday and will not face the $35 per day per animal charge. The animals, as of Thursday, had been in HSUS care for seven days.
First-degree misdemeanors can carry up to $1,000 fines and up to 180 days in jail, up to 500 hours community service and up to five years probation. Second-degree misdemeanors can carry up to 90 days in jail, up to a $750 fine, up to 500 hours community service and up to five years probation. All told, Morgan faces a maximum of close to 46 years in jail.
Morgan is scheduled for a pretrial Sept. 15 at 9:15 a.m.
The Gallia County Dog Warden, along with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and the HSUS, pulled roughly 66 dogs and three horses from Morgan’s Wagoner Road residence Aug. 11 from crowded conditions with heavy sewage smells, unclean containment areas and limited access to food and water. Rescue workers spent the day documenting animals and taking several into emergency treatment. HSUS officials said none were discovered deceased at the residence, however, rescue workers feel some of the animals were close to death.
The animals were then shipped to an undisclosed location in Gallia County for closer inspection and care as legal proceedings continue.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.