NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Disturbing details from the latest animal cruelty arrest in Davidson County highlight a greater concern. It’s a crime officials with the District Attorney’s Office said they are seeing a significant increase in.
“It is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking and it’s heartbreaking for everyone involved,” Assistant District Attorney General Debbie Housel explained.
From hoarding animals to violently killing them, Housel, who prosecutes for animal cruelty in Davidson County, said the cases have more than doubled since she took over last December.
“It goes from leaving a dog in a cage and just abandoning it to horrific, some of the horrific things that we’ve seen. Honestly, they are all heartbreaking. They are so heartbreaking and there are so many people that love animals that a lot of times when I do an indictment, I will put on there to whoever is typing it, ‘Don’t look at the pictures,'” said Housel.
She also said there is often a direct correlation between animal cruelty cases and acts of violence in the home.
“It’s prevalent. It is prevalent and it’s shocking and it makes you sick, quite frankly,” Housel said.
Housel pointed out that Abbie’s Safe Home on the campus of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Weaver Domestic Violence Center offers a pet shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
Housel explained the increase in animal cruelty cases have a domino effect, impacting shelters like Metro Animal Care and Control who she said is already underfunded and understaffed.
“Her words were unprecedented; that’s how much it’s risen,” a MACC officer recently told Housel.
Housel said the DA’s office takes animal cruelty cases seriously and fights to hold those charged accountable, with home video surveillance often playing a key role in prosecution.
In the latest animal cruelty arrest, 38-year-old Leangelo Ramey was taken into custody after police said he beat a dog to death with the broken end of a shovel, saying he was tired.
The owner of the dog told officers she was sleeping before she heard a banging noise and a dog yelping. She went outside to find her dog dead along with Ramey, who reportedly admitted he killed her dog.
Ramey was booked into the Metro Jail and charged with aggravated animal cruelty. His bond was set at $5,000.