Cherokee County

Women accused of abandoning 7 puppies in storage bin on road; the puppies died in Georgia heat

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Two Cherokee County women are accused of abandoning a storage bin full of puppies on the side of the road.

The animals were reportedly left in the Georgia heat for several hours, and the seven pups died, according to officials.

Authorities told Channel 2′s Tom Regan that the two women had gone to an animal shelter first to drop the puppies off.

Now, Amber Higdon and Ashley Vernon face multiple charges of aggravated animal cruelty.

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The Cherokee County Chief Marshall of Animal Control said it’s a stunning case of animal cruelty.

“There’s seven puppies that aren’t here anymore that we could have possibly found a home for,” Chief Jamie Gianfala told Channel 2 Action News.

He said on July 27, two young women came to the shelter in Cherokee County to turn in a litter of puppies.

Employees asked them to wait in the lobby for a few minutes while they took a cat in. They told Regan that when they went back out to get the puppies, just two and a half minutes later, the women were gone along with the animals.

That afternoon, animal control officers responded to reports of a container left on the side of the road a mile from the shelter.


“An officer goes out there and confirms there are puppies and they are deceased,” Gianfala said.

The puppies were left outside, trapped in the storage bin under the hot sun for hours, with temperatures in the mid-90s.

“The puppies had no ventilation, no water, and the elements in which they were’s unacceptable,” Gianfala said.

Cherokee County residents spoke to Channel 2 Action News, saying they were appalled over the fate of the puppies.

“I think it’s pretty disgusting,” one resident told Regan.

“It’s so insensitive,” Christin Fraizier, another resident, said. “I mean there’s so many different options, just wait a couple of minutes and do the right thing.”

Higdon and Vernon were both charged with multiple counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Gianfala said it was just a selfish act, and there were obvious alternatives besides leaving the litter of pups on the side of the road.

Investigators told Channel 2 Action News that neither woman called 911, the shelter, or animal control to let them know where they’d left the litter of puppies.

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