Couple Jailed in Puppy Mill Case

TRENTON - A Jones County couple accused of cruelty to animals was in court Friday morning and in jail Friday afternoon.

Paul and Joyce Brown are charged with 63 counts each of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

They were charged at the Jones County Sheriff's Office Wednesday night and released on $10,000 bond, under the condition that they not own or possess any animals until they appear in court on Friday.

Earlier Wednesday, Jones County deputies and members of the Humane Society of the United States and Raleigh area SPCA seized dozens of dogs from the Browns' Trenton-area home on Highway 41.

The dogs were reportedly taken from inhumane conditions and had no water.

Paul Brown disputes that characterization.

"We have raised dogs for over 20 years," Brown said. "We do not mistreat our dogs."

The animal cruelty investigator for the Jones County Sheriff's Office, Tom Labuda, said the dogs' living conditions and the conditions of the dogs themselves are evidence of cruelty to animals.

The law says owners must provide "necessary sustenance" for their animals, Labuda said.

Necessary sustenance includes drinkable water, a clean cage, and adequate veterinary care, Labuda said.

According to Labuda, the Browns provided none of those things, and that fact laid the basis for the animal cruelty charges.

Brown, however, said his wife spent hours each day caring for the dogs.

"She feeds 'em, she waters 'em, she cleans up behind 'em," Brown said.

The animals were taken to an undisclosed location in Wake County for care.

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