The woman charged with one count of cruelty to animals after more than 200 dogs were discovered at her Candies Creek Road residence appeared in Bradley County General Sessions Court Thursday.
A continuation of the investigation prompted General Sessions Judge Sheridan Randolph to postpone the case against Rebecca Van Meter until August.
10th Judicial Assistant District Attorney General Andy Watts asked for the continuance, noting that not all documentation regarding the animals has been received from the veterinarians who have been responsible for treating the dogs.
Van Meter said she had sent a letter to the court Wednesday in hopes of entering a plea today.
Randolph rejected her “no contest” plea and continued the case.
According to previously published reports in the Banner, the SPCA of Bradley County and the Humane Society of the United States, along with other animal rescue organizations, removed 247 dogs from Van Meter’s residence in June.
Many of the canines were in dire need of veterinary attention, according to reports.
Originally, an alleged domestic call prompted Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deputies to the property, which is located in McDonald.
Deputies then contacted the SPCA of Bradley County.
The animals were relocated from the property to a temporary facility set up in Charleston and other shelters where they underwent assessment and treatment.
According to reports, Bobbi Anderson, SPCA director, said the pups had been housed in a “wooden shack-like building in the rear of the house.”
The animals were housed, five and six to a pen in deplorable sanitation conditions, and some of the pups appeared to be only a few days old, according to officials.
Some of the canines couldn’t stand or walk.
Anderson described the scene as a case of animal “hoarding,” not a puppy mill, and told Banner staff writer Brian Graves that “she (Van Meter) knows she needs help.”
That was on the day of the discovery.
According to Anderson, Van Meter had stated “she began collecting the dogs as a way of ‘rescuing them from people affected by hurricanes.’”
Beth Foster, former communications director for SPCA of Bradley County, said she worked with HSUS to make sure rescue services were available so adoptions could be made.
A hearing for Van Meter is set for Aug. 28.