Reason Craig Gray, 58, is facing aggravated animal cruelty charges after officials rescued more than 700 dogs from his massive kennel in Nashville, Georgia. The city is located about 45 miles north of Florida.
Gray ran a licensed breeding business called Georgia’s Puppies. But officials began investigating the kennel due to reports of inhumane conditions at the property. The Atlanta Humane Society, which has been caring for some of the rescued dogs, said the animals had been living on top of each other in squalor conditions.
According to inmate records, Gray faces at least sixteen felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Bond was set at $10,000. He was arrested on March 7, 2019, and as of April 17, Gray remained behind bars.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois recently cited this case to call on the Department of Agriculture to do more to prevent the operation of puppy mills. You can read the letter here.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Sheriff: Reason Craig Gray Surrendered 630 Dogs During an Initial Search But Had Kept an Additional 85 Animals, Mostly Puppies
The Berrien County Sheriff explained via Facebook that the Georgia Department of Agriculture had inspected Reason Craig Gray’s property and decided to remove Gray’s hundreds of dogs from the property. Gray voluntarily surrendered 630 dogs but was not arrested.
But a few days later, investigators discovered that Gray still had about 85 animals, most of them puppies, on his property. Deputies said Gray “admitted he brought more puppies back to the Barney Parker Road Property” following the Department of Agriculture’s inspection. It is believed that Gray had temporarily moved the puppies off his property in order to hide them from the investigators during the rescue of the other 630 dogs.
Sheriff Paulk added on Facebook, “There are many questions yet to be answered and one huge one is how this licensed pet dealer was allowed to have an operation with this many beautiful creatures to be able to populate to the point of being out of control and inhumane.”
2. Sheriff: Gray Faces Charged Including Animal Cruelty & Obstruction
Reason Craig Gray was arrested on March 7, 2019. Sheriff Ray Paulk explained that Gray faces charges of aggravted animal cruelty, which is a felony, and obstruction.
But it was not immediately clear how many charges Gray will face. Veterinarians need to look over all of the dogs to determine harm, and that will take time.
Gray was booked into the Berrien County Jail. Bond was set at $10,000. As of March 10, Gray was still behind bars.
3. Gray’s ‘Georgia Puppies’ Business Was Authorized by the State of Georgia in July of 2016
Reason Craig Gray’s company business was licensed with the state of Georgia. Public records with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office show that he registered “Georgia Puppies” as a Domestic Limited Liability Company. According to NBC News, Gray sold puppies including Yorkies and toy poodles for up to $600.
The license was granted on July 29, 2019. It was listed under the code “Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services.”
Gray had to re-register the business in 2017 and 2018, despite having been cited for keeping the dogs in enclosed spaces. He was accepted both times.
4. The Humane Society Listed Gray’s Business on its “Horrible Hundred 2018” List After He Was Cited in 2018 For Keeping the Dogs in Crowded Enclosures
The Humane Society of the United States had its eye on Reason Craig Gray long before his arrest and the rescue of more than 700 animals from his massive kennel. The organization put “Georgia Puppies” on its annual list called the “Horrible Hundred.” The report is described as a “sampling of problem puppy mills and puppy sellers in the United States.”
The 2018 report, which you can read in its entirety above, states that Gray had been cited by the state of Georgia in February of 2018 for keeping 450 dogs in enclosed spaces. The Humane Society of United States’ report explained:
“A state inspector failed the dealer for structural issues, noting that dogs in a large outdoor building had ‘outgrown their provided space’ and required ‘larger permanent enclosures.’ The inspector also noted that ‘there are several buildings at this facility [where] dogs are housed in temporary enclosures permanently. The dealer was given a violation for ‘structural strength’ and instructed to transfer dogs to permanent enclosures. This appears to indicate that a number of dogs were found living permanently in crates or crate-like enclosures rather than in adequate dog runs. There are significant concerns that such a massive operation could be overcrowded.”
Debra Berger, the Georgia state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement to Heavy, ““ny time a breeder listed in our Horrible Hundred report is held accountable for their poor treatment of dogs and brought to justice is a step in the right direction. Georgia lawmakers and regulators should be focused on initiatives that close down puppy mills once and for all.”
According to The Humane Society of the United States, a puppy mill is an “inhumane high-volume breeding facility that churns out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the puppies and their mothers. Dogs from puppy mills are often sick and under socialized.”
5. The Atlanta Humane Society & Releash Atlanta Shared Images of Some of the Dogs Rescued From ‘Georgia Puppies’
The Atlanta Humane Society has been caring for some of the dogs rescued from Georgia Puppies. The organization wrote on Facebook, “These dogs have been living in crates their whole lives- one tiny crate stacked on top of another. They’re matted, covered in feces and have never been held or walked.”
The non-profit group “Releash Atlanta,” which is a volunteer organization that aims to save dogs from being euthanized at shelters, also stepped up to care for some of the rescued dogs. They’ve been posting images and videos of some of the dogs on Facebook. One video highlighted the trauma the dogs allegedly faced. The video embedded above shows a dog they named Jordan Knight. They recorded him sleeping standing up, even though he had a dog bed next to him. The group wrote, “Let this sink in… he is beside a dog bed but has no idea what to do with it but he’s completely asleep. He has likely lived his entire life sleeping like this, learning to get comfortable standing, which is why even their toenails grow straight out versus curling. This is what pure greed did to this dog. He is so unfamiliar with a home and his surroundings that he’s living as if he was still in those cages piled on top of other dogs just trying to stay alive and get comfortable any way he had to.”
On a happier note, the group has also shared that many of the rescued dogs are already entering foster homes.