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Officials confiscate 100-plus animals
Man cited for neglect

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville man will face at least heavy fines after more than 100 neglected animals ranging from cats to a pig were seized at his property Thursday, according to authorities.

Justin J. Patterson, 34, of 2600 Bagwell Way, was issued 33 citations for animal neglect and county ordinance violations after a Thursday afternoon raid uncovered a veritable barnyard of mistreated animals.

Acting on a tip from neighbors, authorities seized more than 100 dogs, cats, goats, roosters, ducks, chickens and a pig at Patterson's suspected animal rescue facility, which police said he operated without a state or county license.

Police said the animals were found in various stages of neglect, though none were found dead. Several dogs bore open sores and "were drinking green water with tadpoles swimming in the water," according to a Gwinnett County Police Department release.

Gwinnett County Animal Control issued Patterson 25 citations for animal neglect, while the county's Quality of Life Unit added eight citations for ordinance violations. Patterson could also face charges from the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department or the state in the ongoing investigation, according to police.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture seized all livestock on Patterson's property, while most of the domesticated animals have been directed to rescue homes, said Animal Control officer Joey Brooks.

Brooks said the situation authorities found Thursday has become all too common in Gwinnett County. A similar animal neglect bust last week followed "quite a few in the last several months," Brooks said.

The cost of each citation for animal neglect is usually left up to a judge, said Brooks, who isn't sure if the frequency of animal neglect is rising, or if neighbors are more apt in recent months to report the abuse.

"We have so many of them," Brooks said of animal neglect cases. "(Neighbors) are usually pretty good about calling."