By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 10, 2019
COOK COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- A Cook County woman is facing more than a dozen felony charges after nearly 100 dead animals were found on her property.
Marie Marritt, 55, is facing 13 felony aggravated cruelty to animals charges.
Late last month, Cook County Sheriff's deputies were called out to her Sparks home for complaints of a smell. That's when they found dozens of animals abandoned, neglected and left for dead.
Rescue volunteers called it one of the worst cases they have ever seen.
"It was just complete devastation and just heartbreak. My heart literally broke when I got there," said Michelle Williams, who assisted in the rescue. "There were bones all over the ground, crates all stacked up. There was not a crate where we did not find a dead animal inside."
Many of the surviving animals are still fighting for their lives.
Five puppies are recuperating at a local rescue and nearly two dozen rabbits are recovering at Binky On Rabbit Rescue in Hahira.
"Most of the rabbits coming in should have weighed roughly, anywhere between five and 12 pounds, and most of them weighed between two and four pounds," said Jennifer Betts-Barfield of Binky On Rabbit Rescue.
The rescue has been up and running for 15 years. Betts-Barfield said rabbits can need a lot of extra special care, making this case even more dangerous.
"Rabbits don't show any signs of illness until the very end, which means if they're off just slightly behavior, stop eating, it's essential they get to the vet very quickly," Betts-Barfield said.
Rescue volunteers said others can learn from this case why it's so important to know who animals are being sold to, especially when getting rid of pets online.
"Don't just go on someone's word. Unfortunately, you can't take that for granted these days, you have to go and visit, do a home check, check with their vet," Williams said. "If you do not do your due diligence, then you put the animal up at risk. It's a 50-50 show of whether it's going to be a good home or not if you don't check it out."
Many of the animals are still recovering and are in need of medical attention. Donations can be made to Binky On Rabbit Rescue. The non-profit's website has more on how to adopt the rabbits.