29 horses found dead, around 45 dogs rescued from Colbert County home

The homeowner faces multiple charges, accused of animal cruelty
WAFF 48's Savannah Sapp reporting
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 10:24 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 1:52 PM CDT
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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WAFF) - “There’s really not one particular way to describe it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.”

Animal control officer Jessica Hogan describes her emotions after responding to a frightening case of animal cruelty in Colbert County.

One woman faces charges after nearly 30 dead horses were found on her property.

“There was an area that was just basically bones that was in the back. There was really not a lot left to be able to determine the cause of death,” says animal control officer Whitney Hamby.

Animal Services Director Corey Speegle says he worked closely with animal control to remove over 20 living horses and over 40 dogs from the property.

“We pulled up in front of the house, we could hear the dogs barking. We noticed a row of kennels with dogs, four or five deep in elevated kennels. Pretty bad conditions, hair matted up, living in pee, poop, feces.. just really bad conditions,” said Speegle.

Speegle says all animals were brought to the Colbert County Animal Shelter. Saturday morning, volunteers from all over the community stepped in to help find homes for all animals seized from the property.

“We’ve had rescue come in, we’re going to have dogs going to rescues in Nashville and in Kentucky and they’ll stay there pending the court’s decision on these animals,” said Speegle.

Out of the 40 dogs rescued from the woman’s property, only four were left at the shelter after area rescues stepped in to help.

As for the woman who was in possession of the animals, Speegle said he hopes she is brought to justice.

“That’s my personal opinion, not as my opinion as the director of Colbert County Animal Shelter, but my personal opinion is this woman needs to go to jail,” said Speegle.

On Sunday, Debra Catledge was arrested by the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office on 15 counts of animal cruelty. More charges are pending.

According to court documents obtained by WAFF, Catledge was previously convicted and pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in 2014.

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