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Woman arrested for animal abuse wants $3M for ‘emotional and financial distress’

Eight months after more than 150 dogs were rescued in two Georgia counties, one has yet to file charges. The community wants to know why.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Georgia — Angela Powell’s dogs were found living in feces filled mud, killing each other to survive. Yet she’s the one that’s filed an intent to sue claiming “emotional and financial distress.”

Investigators rescued more than 150 dogs from Powell's properties in Montgomery and Candler counties, in January.

Eight months later, the pending lawsuit by Powell is raising questions about why Montgomery County has yet to file charges against her. 

In 2018, after Powell was ordered by the Department of Agriculture to stop breeding and selling dogs, she started to move some of them to a secluded property in Candler. That’s where a photo was snapped showing a dead dog, sparking community outrage. 

Then in January, after the animals were seized, Candler County District Attorney Hayward Altman charged Powell with 31 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of aggravated cruelty. He added three more felony charges of aggravated cruelty in September based on lab results from the University of Georgia.

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Altman said investigators had sent three sets of bones found on Powell’s property to the lab for testing to verify they were likely Powell’s animals, dogs she referred to in an encounter with police as her babies.

Timothy Vaughn, the District Attorney for the Oconee Judicial District which covers Montgomery County, said he does intend to file charges, but is still working through the evidence.

Vaughn said the charges in his county will likely be misdemeanors, but affirms he does expect his office to take action in the coming weeks.

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In October, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, a representative from the USDA as well as several animal welfare experts will gather in Alpharetta to discuss how the state and local communities can better tackle concerns of animal abuse. There is a cost to attend, but organizers said it’s geared toward those who wish to increase enforcement or discuss challenges facing their community. 

Meanwhile a letter sent by Southeast Law LLC on behalf of Powell, has put both Candler and Montgomery Counties on notice of her intent to sue. The City of Metter, the Departments of Agriculture and Revenue are also listed in the Ante Litem Notice.

It states Powell’s belief that she cared for her dogs properly, but still the agencies’ harassed and treated her unfairly, leading to her improper arrest and prosecution. The notice states Powell has “suffered physical and emotional trauma, as well as significant financial injury” as a result of their actions.

She is seeking $3 million in damages plus attorneys’ fees to avoid resolving the matter in court.

Credit: WXIA

Caged in cruelty investigative series: 

Dog's eye removed after being rescued from licensed Georgia breeder 

Caged in cruelty: 'Emaciated dogs found living with decaying pigs

Hidden in plain sight: Sick animals, a jawless dog and a system that missed them 

Puppy mill survivors: 'He's one of the lucky ones'

Puppy mill owner fined $500ki for alleged mistreatment of 700 matted and injured dogs 

USDA under fire for weakening dog breeder inspection guidelines 

'These are my babies' says breeder accused of leaving dogs to die

The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country.  It airs Sunday nights at 6 on 11Alive. 

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