TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) — The Colbert County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) says a woman previously convicted for animal cruelty has been arrested again, on more animal cruelty charges.
Debra Catledge is not a stranger to animal-related cases with law enforcement. She was convicted in 2013 after authorities rescued more than 120 small dogs that were found in cages outside her home.
On Sunday, deputies said they discovered 28 dead horses and several other malnourished animals on the property which led to her recent arrest. Catledge has since bonded out of the Colbert County Jail, but deputies and animal advocates have not stopped the pursuit of recovering animals from Catledge’s care.
“From my count, there were probably 20 to 30 animals left and they’re all gone,” Colbert County Animal Services Director Charles Speegle said. “I did retrieve four horses, one mule and three donkeys today.”
Deputies removed a few more animals Monday, but they said Sunday dozens of abused animals were on the property.
Speegle said 46 dogs and 27 horses in ‘bad condition’ were removed from the property and taken to receive medical treatment over the weekend. He also said they found skeletal remains of multiple horses and two dogs.
In 2013, Catledge pleaded guilty to the animal cruelty charges and spent time in jail. According to a plea agreement at the time, Catledge was no longer allowed to breed animals.
“After she did her 14 days, she was ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and I’m not pointing fingers because I don’t know whose at fault for that… I’m just saying after this, as long as I’m in office, somebody is going to keep an eye on what’s going on,” Colbert County Sheriff Eric Balentine said.
While many of the animals rescued have gone to foster care or neighboring shelters, the situation has now put a strain on the already-overcrowded Colbert County Animal Shelter.
Anyone willing to donate food or supplies for the dogs or horses is encouraged to contact Colbert County Animal Services at 256-381-4073.