Man arrested, charged with animal cruelty after 20 dogs seized from home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man arrested for failing to properly care for 20 dogs is charged with animal cruelty and confining animals without adequate food and water.

The city filed a petition to remove Terry Thomas’s animals. The 48-year-old man had previously been charged with keeping animals in unsafe and unhygienic conditions.

READ: Petition for permanent removal and preservation of abused animals | Arrest report for Terry Thomas

According to the arrest report, a bite stick, skipping rope, bait trap, syringes, wound treatment spray and supplements were also found in Thomas’ home.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Animal Care & Protective Services seized the dogs Wednesday and a warrant was issued for their arrest. The petition for the animal’s removal filed in 2021 stated that many of the dogs were covered in feces, suffered injuries and had other untreated medical conditions.

The house is located on the Kasteelboulevard on the north side. Records show that the owner was arrested in 2021 and charged with imprisoning animals without adequate food and water.

Crates of animals were on display in the backyard, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Zone 5 Community Problem Response (or CPR) team was on scene.

Photo from scene on Northside.

The dogs — and two rabbits — were taken to Animal Care and Protective Services in downtown Jacksonville.

Jim Crosby is an animal cruelty expert who used to work for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

“It takes a while to process these scenes,” Crosby explains. “I’ve seen a lot of them and there’s a lot of evidence to collect from the crime scene, from the people and even later from the dogs.”

Heavy chains were tied to poles next to the crates, and dog collars were attached to some of those chains. Crosby said he has seen similar equipment used in separate investigations into dog fighting allegations.

Records show that the charges were dropped, but the city has filed a petition to remove the abused animals. The owner refused the petition and on Wednesday the city took action to remove the animals.

“The next step is to give the animals proper veterinary care and make sure they have the right nutritional needs — that they haven’t been starved or deprived,” Crosby said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Vice Squad and Animal Care & Protective Services issued an arrest warrant Wednesday at a home on the north side, and a spokesperson for the city said it expects nearly 20 dogs to be removed.

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