Accused Gibson Co. puppy mill owner speaks

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Sheila Carlton walked her property Thursday afternoon in Gibson County where 48 dogs were recovered just two days earlier.

Carlton Charges Puppies“They explained what they were here for and they wanted to look at the dogs and said that they had had complaints,” Carlton recalled about the moment Sheriff Paul Thomas knocked on her door Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after, Carlton was arrested and charged with 50 counts of animal cruelty.

She said she hasn’t bred dogs in years but had just bought 12 puppies from a woman in Huntingdon early last month to help generate more money, and just weeks after getting them delivered a litter of seven new puppies.

Carlton said while the conditions for the dogs needed work, they were never treated poorly.

“They said they’d never had a hand on them. They’d never known what it was like to touch the ground, and we play with our dogs,” Carlton said.

After suffering a heart attack in November 2014, Carlton said her health has been an issue and played a big role in the living conditions for the dogs.

“If I hadn’t of gotten sick, they wouldn’t have found things like this. I just had too much. I had too much to do,” Carlton said.

At the end of the day, Carlton said she wishes she would have waited before getting back into breeding the dogs.

“I do wish that maybe I had just told the girl from Huntingdon, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t take them right now. Even though it was a good buy, I just can’t take them right now,’ and waited until I got my facilities straight.”

Carlton will appear in court again Tuesday, June 14.

As of Thursday, she had not hired an attorney to represent her.

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