Adams County woman charged with animal cruelty; four dogs seized

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

NATCHEZ — An Adams County woman has been arrested and charged with simple animal cruelty after allegedly hoarding as many as nine dogs without providing adequate food, shelter or care.

Sandra Dale Burch, 54, of 16 Shepard Road and 1363 Lower Woodville Road, Natchez, turned herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

The case is one that has frustrated Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Karren Ewing since November. Ewing is the Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s go-to deputy for animal-related cases. She is also the ACSO victims’ advocate.

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Commenters on Facebook have called attention to the dogs that were sometimes running loose or were locked up in small kennels near the Sibley Post Office with no food or water and exposed to harsh elements.

Ewing said one of the dogs, a Yorkie, was locked up in a small metal building that was in deplorable condition with no windows, no food or water and no care of any kind.

“I cannot seize these dogs if I don’t have placement for them,” Ewing said. She has been seeking a place at the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society or other rescue groups here, but no spot became available until Monday.

As frustrating for Ewing is that none of the people complaining about the situation were willing to step forward to help by fostering the dogs.

Because of inclement weather expected to move into the area on Monday afternoon, Ewing said she felt she had to take the dogs on Monday morning. She obtained a court order allowing her to seize the dogs and an arrest warrant for Burch, who was responsible for the animals.

“It’s disheartening that after three months, I still haven’t been able to get housing (fosters), room for these poor dogs,” Ewing wrote on social media on Sunday. In November, there were nine. Friday, I only counted three — could have been a couple of quiet ones but I’m not sure.”

In fact, there was one other dog, a fourth, which was locked in a metal building.

After Ewing’s post, the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society responded it would take one of the dogs, a pregnant female. Ewing found someone else willing to foster three of the others.

One of the dogs is completely blind, Ewing said. Another is blind in one eye. Another is pregnant. All, including the Yorkie, are underweight and have been malnourished, she said.

“When I got down there, the blind dog rubbed up against my legs and when I touched her, just fell at my feet. She was starving to death,” Ewing said.

At her arraignment on Tuesday, Justice Court Judge Danny Barber set bond for Burch at $25,000. She remains in custody.