Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Patricia Adkisson Mistreating, abusing & starving or killing 308 dogs, 38 horses & 20 cats

Lyles, TN

Hickman County

December 1998  
Patricia Adkisson 164 dogs found

Lyles, TN

Hickman County

July 12, 2000  
Patricia Adkisson 747 animals seized

Lyles, TN

Hickman County

June 25, 2008  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
  animal cruelty; possession of drug paraphernalia

308 dogs, 38 purebred Arabian horses, 20 cats

Convicted  

Patricia Adkisson housed 308 dogs of assorted breeds, sizes and ages, 38 purebred Arabian horses and about 20 cats on her property in horrendous and unspeakable conditions (no adequate food, shelter, etc.). The puppy mill was hidden off the main road, deep in the woods. There was no food bowls or water available. Skeletal remains were found surrounding the area where the dogs were kept. The stench was horrific. The animals were found terrified, starving, sick, deformed and injured. The skeletal remains of dogs, horses and goats had bullet holes in some of the skulls.

According to the Arabian Horse Registry CD (AHR) in 1996 Adkisson had 28 and her son Mark T. Adkisson had 4 Arabians registered in their names.

 On May 3, 1999 Adkisson was indicted on 253 counts of cruelty to animals and 1 count of felony tampering with evidence. The felony tampering charges were filed because Adkisson somehow managed to move all but 10 of the horses in the middle of the night. When questioned about this, Adkisson stated that she sold the horses.

The case went to trial on January 25, 2000, 13 months and 4 days after the puppymill was closed down.

Adkisson was found guilty of 3 counts of animal cruelty (a misdemeanor). At her trial she received 3 consecutive sentences of 11 months and 29 days - suspended. She may not own animals for 5 years - unless Hickman Country Humane Society monitor her actions and be able to inspect her property at will (except for her private home). She was also fined $1,000 per dog (reduced from $2500) for a total of $3,000.

Cindy Wasden of the Hickman Humane Society stated, "I won't go into all the details but the judge kept suppressing evidence on individual dogs which kept reducing the counts. The jury found her guilty of animal abuse by means of torture on 1 animal and guilty of animal abuse by means of failure to provide adequate care on 2 animals".

Before the Grand Jury Hearing, Adkisson filed a civil lawsuit against the Hickman Humane Society demanding the return of 81 dogs and compensation for "pain and suffering" she has endured. The Humane Society filed a counter-suit claiming her to be unfit to own animals and asking for full custody of all the dogs. At the civil trial Adkisson had been deposed - she pled the Fifth Amendment on most all questions.

In August 2000 Adkisson was again arrested. Hickman County Animal Control Officers discovered more than 164 dogs at one home, in July living in what they call deplorable conditions. Adkisson was ordered at her 1998 trial not to own animals for 5 years without first informing the Humane Society. This order she apparently ignored. Now Adkisson faces charges of animal cruelty

In May 2000 Dateline did a report on Adkisson and showed how she was selling puppies via the Internet. This also is in violation of her sentence.

According to court documents, Adkisson spent $8000 for medical expenses and $11,000 for food in an 18-month period for approximately 391 animals. That amounts to about $1.50 per month on food and $1.10 per month on medical care.

Of the 253 counts of animal cruelty and the 1 count of tampering with evidence, Adkisson received a $3000 fine, 3 consecutive sentences of 11 month 29 days in jail (suspended) - that she not own any animals for 5 years unless approved by the Humane Society.

In July 2000 Adkisson was in violation of her parole by owning 164+ more dogs. 11 dogs were taken the veterinarian immediately and the rest went to the humane society.

The case was remanded to Hickman County Circuit Court for possible further action, however, Adkisson's lawyer John P. Cauley stated the case is over. "There's nothing left. They have taken all the animals and Adkisson is not going to try to get them back".

The animals were taken from Adkisson's property and adopted.

Update 10/16/01: Adkisson's conviction was overturned by the state Court of Criminal Appeals because of an improper search of the woman's property. The December 1998 search of Adkisson's property by members of the Hickman County Humane Society and the county sheriff's department was improper and "violated constitutional principles" according to Appeals Court Judge Gary R. Wade.

According to court documents, Adkisson spent $8000 for medical expenses and $11,000 for food in an 18-month period for approximately 391 animals. That amounts to about $1.50 per month on food and $1.10 per month on medical care.

Adkisson's defense attorney John P. Cauley stated although the case was remanded to Hickman County Circuit Court for possible action, he thinks the case is over.  “There’s nothing left.  They have taken all the animals and she (Adkisson) is not going to try to get them back”.

Of the 253 animals taken from 10372 Ed Lyell Rd, most were placed in foster homes, while 3 dogs were euthanized because of their poor physical condition.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PATRICIA ADKISSON Court: TCCA

Attorneys: 
John P. Cauley, Franklin, Tennessee (on appeal), and Douglas T. Bates, III, Centerville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Patricia Adkisson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; and Judson Phillips and Kenneth K. Crites, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. 

Judge: WADE

First Paragraph:  The defendant, Patricia Adkisson, who was charged with 253 counts of animal cruelty and one count of tampering with evidence, was convicted on three counts of animal cruelty.  See Tenn. Code Ann. SS 39-14-202, 39-16-503.  The trial court imposed three consecutive terms of 11 months, 29 days, and granted supervised probation.  As a condition of probation, the defendant was prohibited from owning any caged animals for a period of five years.  The defendant appealed.  Later, the trial court revoked probation and a second appeal followed.  In this consolidated proceeding, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress evidence gathered during the initial search of her property; (2) the evidence was insufficient; (3) the sentence was improper; and (4) the trial court lacked authority to revoke her probation.  Because the search of the defendant's premises violated constitutional principles, the trial court erred by failing to suppress the evidence, which led to the convictions.  Accordingly, the convictions are reversed and the causes are remanded.

Update 7/18/02:  The 1999 animal cruelty convictions were overturned by the TN Court of Criminal Appeals because of an improper search of Adkisson's property.  According to the decision, the December 1998 search of adkisson's property was improper and "violated constitutional principles".

Update 6/25/08:

  (Photo courtesy of WSMV-NBC 4) Of 700 animals found at Adkisson's Pine Bluff Kennels, 200 were puppies.   Cats, goats, donkeys, horses and parrots were also found along with adult breeding dogs.   All the animals were housed in various buildings on the 92-acre property.  Many of the animals were found without water and living in feces covered cages.  Some dogs were found dead, some near death.  Skin conditions, eye injuries and broken bones were also found according to District Attorney General Kim Helper.

Helper said she didn't want what happened in the last case against Adkisson's to happen again.  "We want to make sure that if criminal charges are filed in this case that we have a successful prosecution, stated Helper.  Adkisson's could face 1 criminal count for each animal as puppymills are a violation of Tennessee's animal cruelty laws.

No arrests have been made, and no charges have been filed, but both most likely will be after all the animals are evaluated.  Because this is TN's largest puppymill raid, the investigation was so massive and officials said it would take days to process all the animals.

The Humane Society and the ASPCA helped to arrange the help for the raid and housing of all the animals.  There is no animal control in Hickman County, so the animals will be kept at a temporary shelter.

Update 2/6/09:  State lawmakers are trying to curb so-called puppy mills by regulating breeders and creating an inspection process, but some breeders are worried it might have unintended consequences.

State Sen. Doug Jackson was never a fan of regulating commercial animal breeders until he set foot on a farm in Hickman County.

"After seeing that and the magnitude of that and the amount of suffering that was taking place ... it was clear in my mind to support this kind of legislation," he said. "Animals have just become more important to me."

He's now proposing legislation that he hopes will put an end to what many call puppy mills.

It would require any breeder with more than 20 animals to pay a $500 licensing fee to the state. If you have more than 40, it goes up to $1,000.

Commercial breeders would also be inspected yearly.

Dick Dickerson is on the board of the American Kennel Club and owns 22 dogs. He said he worries a law like this will also place a burden on legitimate breeders who are already subject to strict regulations through the AKC.

"Numbers are not necessarily the thing you go by," Dickerson said.

Jackson said the law makes sense not only to protect animals but also to protect the animals' buyers, ensuring that they get healthy pets.

As far as the Hickman County case goes, Patricia Adkisson is scheduled to go to trial in May.

Update 8/27/09:  A trial date has been set for a woman in Hickman County accused of animal cruelty.

Patricia Adkisson will stand trial Dec. 16 in Centerville, Tenn., for charges ranging from aggravated animal cruelty to possession of drug paraphernalia.

Adkisson had been ordered to undergo mental evaluation at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute earlier this year. That evaluation was completed, and she has been ruled competent to stand trial.

In 2008, investigators found several guns and a list of medical supplies and operating tools at a dog-breeding operation suggesting that Adkisson, the kennel’s owner, may have been performing medical procedures on animals that could not be adopted. She is not a veterinarian.

According to a search warrant, a worker at Pine Bluff Kennels said that almost a dozen dogs were killed in mid-June of that year because they were not adoptable.

Update 12/16/09:  The trial of Hickman County woman charged with hoarding hundreds of animals at her home began Wednesday.

Patricia Adkisson is accused of unlawfully transporting dogs or cats and giving rabies shots without proper certification in 2008.

Authorities seized 700 animals from Adkisson's property last year. Many were in poor health and living in what investigators called "deplorable" conditions.

  (Photo courtesy of WSMV)  Two women who worked at the facility took the stand in a Hickman County court. One of those women testified she also contacted authorities after finding two dead dogs and terrible conditions.

Lisa Osborne worked at Pine Bluff Kennels for about a year and a half. She said there were animals walking around in feces.

Another employee, Jessica Mills, said she and Osborne were hired by Adkisson to feed and care fore more than 650 dogs. Mills said she was responsible for about 400 to 500 dogs on a part of the property known as The Hill.

In court, Mills showed photographs she took last spring, showing feces lining the cages and skinny dogs.

Osborne was in charge of the section known as the Dog Trailer, which was where the mother dogs and their puppies were kept. Osborne said she was dismissed from the job for a while, but when she returned, she found two dead dogs due to the filthy conditions. She testified Adkisson was in charge of the dog trailer while she was gone.  "I thought she would take better care of them than that," said Osborne.

Adkisson's attorney cross-examined the state's witnesses asking if his client provided them with the tools to do their jobs. Both witnesses testified that Adkisson provided them with between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds of dog food each week.

One of the veterinarians who arrived on the property to examine the animals testified they weren't properly cared for.

Adkisson was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation in August. Based on the results, a judge ruled she could stand trial.

This isn't the first time Adkisson has been on trial for animal cruelty. She was convicted in 2000 and given probation and a $3,000 fine. That conviction was overturned.

Update 2/28/10:  On Feb. 18, Judge Easter sentenced Adkisson to ten years, including five years on Community Corrections where she will be heavily monitored. The remaining five years will be served under probationary supervision. Judge Easter imposed a lifetime ban on animal ownership or association with persons or organizations who deal in animals.

  (Photo courtesy of WSMV)  In December 2009, Patricia Adkisson was convicted of 14 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and 16 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. These charges stemmed from allegations that Adkisson neglected hundreds of dogs kept in her mass breeding business, Pine Bluff Puppies. Upon sentencing, Judge Easter noted the court found there was an indefensible treatment of animals and that Adkisson exhibits a low value for life in general.

"We are grateful to the judge as well as to the 21st Judicial District Attorney General's Office for treating animal cruelty as the crime it is. Authorities are serious about enforcing Tennessee's animal protection law, and this sends a message to other puppy mill operators out there that they won't get a free ride in our state," said Leighann McCollum, Tennessee state director for The HSUS.

"By imposing this sentence, Judge Easter recognized the magnitude of the cruelty and neglect suffered by these puppies and the other animals on Adkisson's property," said Tennessee 21st Judicial District Attorney General Kim Helper. "We appreciate the help provided to us by The Humane Society of the United States during the course of our investigation and subsequent trial."

The raid in June 2008 was set into motion from received tips.  The 21st Judicial District Attorney General's Office began to build a case against Adkisson. It was the largest puppy mill bust in Tennessee history.

The 700 dogs and 47 other animals were taken to humane organizations across the country where they received necessary medial and behavioral care and placed up for adoption in new, loving homes.

Subsequently, the 21st Judicial District Attorney General's Office, legislators and others, including the Nashville Kennel Club, helped to pass legislation in Tennessee to crack down on puppy mills in the state.

References:

English Spring Rescue America CritterHaven.org The Tennessean News
NoPuppyMills.com WKRN News Channel 2, Nashville News Channel 5
The Tennessee Bar Association Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners WTVF Nashville News Channel 5
WSMV - NBC Media Newswire