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Dogs Returned to Brooks' Custody

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Jennifer Brooks Jennifer Brooks
Fluvanna Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip Fluvanna Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip

A Fluvanna County woman charged with animal cruelty has been reunited with some of her pets, but not all of them.

On March 01, 22 dogs were seized from Jennifer Brooks' home after reports of animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions. Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to animals and four counts of failing to adequately provide for them. But both the defense and the commonwealth's attorney agree this was not a case of intentional harm.

Jennifer Brooks says the past few weeks can be best summed up in just two words. "Separation anxiety," she said,  "the dogs have been going through it, too. I miss them terribly."

Last month, her 22 German Shepherds were seized from her home on Bremo Road in Fluvanna County. After weeks of fighting in court to get them back, she has accepted a plea agreement.

Brooks stated, "Things haven't gone well. I am getting the three oldest dogs back, which is good, and I appreciate that, but I have concerns as to what's going to happen with the rest of them."

Brooks was given a 3-year jail sentence but that sentence was suspended on a number of conditions, one of them being that she must give up 19 of her dogs and keep only the three oldest.

Fluvanna Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip said, "Those dogs are 15, 11 and 10 years old and in varying stages of ill health. We felt that under the circumstances, carefully monitored, they'd be better back in her possession at her new residence with new surroundings than at the SPCA where they would be difficult to adopt out."

Brooks will undergo a psychological evaluation and will be put on suspended probation for one year. She will also be responsible for paying $4,500 in restitution to the county to help pay for the boarding and care of the animals.

The judge says it's clear this was a case of a woman with medical issues who took on more animals than she was capable of taking care of.

"If there had been any indication that this was an intentional infliction of harm to the animals, I never would have agreed to return even the three back to her," Haislip stated.

Brooks is now living in a new home with new kennels for her three dogs to live in. Animal control will check on the dogs periodically to make sure they're being properly cared for.

As for the 19 dogs that were seized they're all doing well, and some are available for adoption from the Fluvanna County SPCA.