Animals removed from Gilmer County property, owner cited with animal cruelty

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:33 PM EDT
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GILMER COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) - Animal rescue groups jumped into action this week to remove dozens of animals from a property near Ellijay.

Upwards of 100 animals have been removed from Build an Ark Animal Rescue since January, according to Gilmer County Animal Control. Rescue groups and authorities were out there as recently as Monday to relocate the animals to other rescue groups’ properties.

The animals have been removed both because Susan Littlejohn, who runs Build an Ark, is getting evicted from the property, and because of concerns about cruelty and neglect, according to Daniel Laukka with Gilmer County Animal Control. He has cited Littlejohn with 14 counts of animal cruelty related to unsanitary conditions and animals being underweight and not properly fed. She is determined to relocate and get her animals back.

“We have plenty of proof that these animals were not abused so all I know is, going to court, I’m anxious to go,” said Littlejohn. “I could not see how they could see cruelty in any of it because they’re old animals, they’re very old animals.”

Among the animals that have been removed are sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, rabbits, an alpaca, ducks, chickens and pigs. Littlejohn said she’s had some of the animals since 2004.

“It’s a nightmare,” she said. “It’s like a witch-hunt.”

Cheryl Flanagan founded Save the Horses, one of the rescue groups that took in some of the animals. She is now caring for sheep, horses, donkeys and a miniature horse from Build an Ark.

“The donkeys probably are the worst because their feet are so bad,” said Flanagan, who knows Littlejohn and has helped her with animals in the past.

“It’s really sad but it’s really worse because there are resources out there to help people,” she said.

She encourages anyone with concerns about how animals are living to speak up.

“If you’re afraid to call and report it then call somebody, call one of the rescue groups and don’t let it go, don’t just walk away from it,” she said.