Woman: I chose to feed kids over dog

BUFORD - A Buford woman told a Gwinnett County judge this week a no-win ultimatum led her German shepherd to near starvation: with money tight, she was forced to choose between feeding her children or the dog, not both.

The judge chose jail.

Amanda Marie Conn was sentenced to two days in the Gwinnett County Jail on animal neglect charges Tuesday, followed by six months of probation, in addition to a $500 fine. She was released the following day, officials said.

Trouble for Conn began when an anonymous tipster told police she was starving the animal.

Animal control officers responded to her Branden Hill Lane address and observed "a very thin German shepherd," said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli.

Conn claimed the dog had liver problems and was being treated by a veterinarian, Schiralli said.

An officer told Conn he'd return the next day to verify records of the animal's treatment, which she failed to produce, Schiralli said. The dog was impounded, and its owner cited with animal neglect, per a county ordinance.

Conn, whose phone number is unlisted, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Another stipulation of her sentencing forbids her from having contact with domestic animals, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

As for the dog?

Schiralli said officials concluded the animal had no liver problems or underlying medical issues, other than starvation. A veterinarian at a local animal hospital rescued the animal and adopted it, he said.

"The dog recovered from his condition," Schiralli said, "and gained about 20 pounds in a very short period of time."