Clayton County has an ordinance in place to stop people from keeping five or more dogs over the age of four months. It’s a good, sensible law considering the amount of people who have more animals than they can look after properly, but it’s been at the centre of a debate about law enforcement since March.
On the third of March this year officers raided the house of forty three year old Shennielle Youhoing-Nanan after Animal Control had been trying to contact her for a year regarding her violation of the ordinance. Authorities say Shennielle had a dozen dogs kept in unsanitary conditions in her back yard and had received thirteen citations for this and her “willful avoidance” of Animal Control officers. More than two dozen armed county cops and sheriff’s deputies swarmed her home and waved guns in her face. One officer pushed her to the floor and held her down with his knee in her back as she was handcuffed. She was pulled from her home still in her bedclothes and paraded partially naked into the street. When it was noticed that she was bleeding heavily, Emergency Medical staff determined she needed care and she was sent to hospital. It was there that she found that the currently unnamed officer’s rough treatment had caused her to lose the two month old foetus she was carrying. With barely enough time to register that horror, she was carted off to jail immediately following her discharge.
Thomas F. Jones, Shennielle’s lawyer has filed a complaint against both the Clayton Sheriff’s Office and Police Department. Both have declined to comment further on the case despite multiple requests from news groups. Jones says that he’s ready to follow up with a lawsuit but wishes to follow the proper procedure. Animal Control have admitted that none of their officers ever witnessed the supposed unsanitary conditions these dogs were kept in but had only heard complaints and that, at the time of her arrest, she was definitely not violating the ordinance as she had only four adult dogs and a new litter of puppies.