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Decision expected soon in Bramblett dog custody case

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There’s still no decision on the fate of thirty dogs seized from a Habersham County couple’s home during a recent raid on a puppy mill near Clarkesville.

State Court Judge Steve Campbell is expected to announce his ruling later this month on a cost of care petition filed by Habersham County against Teresa and Clarence Bramblett.

The judge heard testimony Wednesday regarding the county’s financial claims against the couple. The Brambletts forfeited over 300 animals that were seized from their property in April but asked to retain their rights to the thirty personal pets. Wednesday’s hearing followed two previous delays.

The county is asking for $25,320 to pay for care provided to the non-surrendered animals between the date they were seized on April 15 and the original hearing date on June 12. The petition also seeks $11,000 per month from June 12 onward until the dogs are either fully surrendered to the county or until physical custody is returned to the Brambletts.

The dogs are on court hold until animal cruelty cases against Teresa and Clarence Bramblett are adjudicated.

The defense contests the county’s financial claims against the couple, arguing the pets were unlawfully seized. “The county didn’t meet the statutes to seize the dogs,” attorney Henry Simmons told the court. He referenced a three-way phone conversation he says he and Mrs. Bramblett had with Habersham County Animal Control Director Madi Hawkins. “Hawkins stated if she (Bramblett) would submit the other animals she would get to keep the house dogs,” Simmons stated.

Hawkins was the only witness to testify for the county.

After several hours of testimony, Judge Campbell took the case under advisement. He gave the attorneys ten days to submit briefs. If either side does, then they will be given ten days to respond. After that, the judge will render his decision.

This story has been updated to reflect that a decision may be issued after August 19th

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