A Georgia man suspected of importing dogs from out of state in early September was found guilty Friday in Loudoun County General District Court.
Tremain Dene Johnson, 44, of Lithonia, Ga., was convicted on 10 misdemeanor counts of importing pet dogs into Virginia without a certificate of veterinary inspection. For five of the counts, Johnson was fined $2,500 with $1,750 suspended, pending no further violations for one year. On the additional five counts, he was fined $750. Jail time was waived at the discretion of the assistant commonwealth’s attorney, according to the Loudoun County Public Information Office.
Harry Ortice Puckett, 33, of Elgin, Ill., was found not guilty on the same 10 counts.
The men were stopped Sept. 7 on the Dulles Greenway when a Loudoun Animal Control officer, en route to a call, stopped to assist the men handling a puppy on the shoulder of the road in the area of Shreve Mill Road, according to reports.
Upon further inspection, officers found the men were in possession of 10 dogs that appeared to be pit bulls or pit bull mixes of varying ages and degrees of health.
“By law we can seize animals if we feel their health is a direct or immediate threat. These dogs met that criteria and we had grounds for seizing,” Adrienne Burton, chief of Loudoun County Animal Control, said after the incident.
Loudoun County Animal Control Officer Angela Chan, who responded to the initial call, said she was satisfied with the outcome of the case Friday.
“Too often, animals are exploited in the pet trade, their health and well-being neglected in favor of financial gain,” Chan said in a prepared statement. “This law exists to ensure that the health of animals transported or imported to the commonwealth is certified by an accredited veterinarian and provides a mechanism for us to address violators. Animals without proper certification can present a danger of contagious and infectious disease to our local animal population.”
-Assistant Editor Crystal Owens contributed to this report.
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