Man arrested, charged with animal cruelty after 20 dogs seized from home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man arrested for improperly caring for 20 dogs faces charges of animal cruelty and confinement of animals without adequate food and water.

The city filed a petition to remove the animals from Terry Thomas. The 48-year-old man had previously been tried for unsafe and unsanitary animal husbandry.

READ: Request for permanent removal and confinement of abused animals | Arrest report for Terry Thomas

According to the arrest report, a bite stick, spring balancer, bait trap, syringes, wound treatment spray and dietary supplements were also found at Thomas’s home.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Animal Care & Protective Services confiscated the dogs Wednesday and issued a warrant for their arrest. The request for the animal’s removal, filed in 2021, said many of the dogs were covered in feces, suffered wounds and had other untreated illnesses.

The house is on Castle Boulevard on the Northside. Records show the owner was arrested in 2021 and accused of confining animals without adequate food and water.

Boxes of animals were visible in the backyard, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Zone 5 Community Problem Response (or CPR) team was on site.

Photograph of the scene on the north side.

The dogs — and two rabbits — were taken to Animal Care and Protective Services in downtown Jacksonville.

Jim Crosby is an expert on animal cruelty and formerly worked for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

“It takes a while to process those scenes,” Crosby explained. “I’ve been on a lot of them and there’s a lot of evidence that needs to be gathered from the scene, from the people and even later from the dogs.”

In addition to the boxes, heavy chains were seen attached to poles, and dog collars were attached to some of these chains. Crosby said he saw similar devices being used in separate investigations involving allegations of dog fighting.

Records show the charges were dropped, but the city petitioned to have the abused animals removed. The owner defaulted on the petition, and on Wednesday the city acted to remove the animals.

“The next step is to get the animals adequate veterinary care and make sure they have the right nutritional needs — that they haven’t been starved or deprived,” Crosby said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Vice Squad and Animal Care & Protective Services office on Wednesday served an arrest warrant at a Northside home, and a city spokesman said nearly 20 dogs are expected to be removed.

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