Preliminary hearing set for animal cruelty case

Published 8:35 am Monday, September 2, 2019

Online petition signatures that ask DA to seek maximum penalty in the thousands

A Johnson City man accused of cruelty to animals made an initial appearance before General Sessions Court Judge Keith Bowers Friday. Ryan Christopher Garland, 114 Vanover Road, Apt. 15, Johnson City, was charged pursuant to an affidavit of complaint with cruelty to animals August 6. Judge Bowers ordered Garland, who is now free after posting a $1,000 bond, to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on the charge October 7. Garland is alleged to have tortured a kitten by pulling out its claws, cutting off its whiskers, and shaving its head. It is also believed Garland forced the animal to take the drug methadone. Carter County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Hill charged Garland after responding to a call of animal abuse at the Carter County Animal Shelter, where the kitten had been taken by Caitlyn Charlton, Madison Shuffler, Shanna Morris, and Hailey Presnell. All of whom said that they believed the cat had been abused.

Hill’s complaint detailed Garland’s alleged horrific torture of the kitten, which was also confirmed by an unnamed veterinarian technician at the shelter.

According to Paws of Hope Animal Wellness Center, a low-cost veterinarian center located in Bluff City, Koa’s abuse included physical abuse to such an extent that she suffered rib fractures and a “pulmonary edema” in her lungs.

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Carter County Animal Shelter Director Shannon Posada also said in a recent interview that the abuse the kitten suffered was not a one-time event, and that the animal had actually sustained repeated physical abuse.

“The DA’s office has told me the phone has not stopped ringing regarding since the media last covered [the abuse to] the kitten,” said Posada. Posada said she would not rest until justice is gotten for the kitten.

A petition online at that details the abuse suffered by Koa and asks District Attorney General Ken Baldwin to prosecute Garland and seek the maximum penalty has already garnered 3,267 signatures.

Posada says that although the kitten is recovering, it will require around the clock care because of nerve damage.