Georgia dog breeder charged with 20 counts of animal cruelty

Dog breeder charged with animal cruelty

Tonya Lewis, the owner and breeder of Tonya's Tiny Companions, was charged with 20 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty Wednesday afternoon after a magistrate hearing.

Judge Thomas Bobbitt presided in the hearing, in which several witnesses testified against Lewis, alleging that she kept the animals in poor, dirty conditions.

The first witness, Riley Godfrey, testified that she went to Tonya's Tiny Companions on July 21 to look at dogs. She returned the next day to take pictures and videos.

Lewis said she was unaware that she was being recorded and asked if the dogs looked clean.

The second witness, veterinarian Dr. Beverly Hickman, says she treated Lewis' dogs for several years -- several had Coccidia, a parasitic disease caused by ingesting fecal matter.

Lewis cross-examined Hickman asking her if there was another way for the dogs to get the infection, and Hickman said it could also be stress-related.

Hickman said she had never been to Tonya's Tiny Companions, but the photos showed overcrowding, not enough food bowls and stress.

A third witness, Daniel Hargrave, said, 'You could smell the feces when you stepped onto the property" and that the dogs were matted, and covered with fecal matter.

Hargrave returned the next day with her friend Julie Fail and said the dogs looked worse. She testified that she went back to take pictures 'to have proof.'

Fail contacted the Georgia Department of Agriculture on July 23 to report Lewis, but says she received no response. After not receiving a response, she posted the photos on social media 'to get help.'

Bobbitt says the Georgia Department of Agriculture was subpeonaed by the court, however they were not called to the stand.

A warrant is being prepared and the case was referred to District Attorney Craig Fraser. Lewis will be taken directly to jaill, the magistrate said.


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