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Cops find 14 sick animals at home

Photo by Carrie Jones

Photo by Carrie Jones

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Police have lodged animal cruelty charges against a Lawrenceville couple who allegedly kept 13 malnourished dogs and cats in rancid conditions at their home.

A neighbor on Monday evening complained to Lawrenceville police about "extremely thin and unhealthy-looking" dogs she'd heard fighting over food and spotted through her neighbors' high, wooden fence on Forest Place.

Police and Animal Control officers spoke with homeowner Buffy Sims, who claimed she had planned to seek veterinary care for the emaciated animals "tomorrow," according to a Lawrenceville police report. In the back yard, officers noted a pitbull and several smaller dogs in "skeletal" condition, with no apparent food or suitable water. Animal Control removed nine dogs from the back yard.

"All of the dogs we could see were so thin that we could see their ribs," an officer noted. "Flies were landing on them and they did not appear to have the strength to swat them off."

Inside the home, officers noted the floors were smeared with feces and urine, and dotted with cockroaches and flies. Sims' husband, Justin Sims, told police he'd found some of the animals "on the side of the road and had brought them home to ... get them back to health," the report states.

Officers confiscated a Boston terrier, a small dog bearing infected lesions on its back, two cats and a caged Guinea pig, the report states. Animal Control transported all the animals for veterinary care and treatment, as police arrested the Sims.

The couple, charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty apiece, remained at the Gwinnett County Jail on $18,200 bond each Wednesday.