Spalding woman arrested after six dead animals located at residence

Ashley M Gresham

Booking photo courtesy of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

A Spalding County woman, 27-year-old Ashley Gresham, has been arrested and charged with six counts of felony animal cruelty after numerous deceased animals were located at her residence.

Deputy Corey Waddell, of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, on Monday responded to 640 Tri County Road, where he met with Michelle Wesolowski and Laurie Ashley, who represent Royal Animal Refuge in Tyrone.

Laurie Ashley reported the Royal Animal Refuge director has contacted her regarding a possible stray dog that appeared to have recently given birth and may have been neglected. This information originated on Facebook, the animal rescue volunteers reported.

“Laurie and Michelle stated Ashley had agreed to surrender the mother dog, the puppies and another dog to the rescue. Laurie also stated there may be a dead dog on the property as well,” Waddell said.

At that time, Deputy Jennifer Fuller, Waddell’s field training officer, reported the information to Spalding County Animal Control.

“Upon walking the property with Animal Control six deceased animals were discovered in pens. There was a dog in a doghouse inside the kennel, there was a dead chicken in a coop, two dead ducks and two dead rabbits in different cages,” Waddell said. “While on scene, another dog come to the property with an apparent broken hind leg. Ashley advised that dog was her’s and agreed to surrender this animal as well to Royal Animal Refuge (sic all).”

Ashley Gresham allegedly sought to implicate her ex-boyfriend in the matter.

“Ashley (Gresham) stated her ex-boyfriend Michael Garrett had dug up the dead dog and placed it in the doghouse. Ashley stated the dog had died approximately three to four weeks ago. There appeared to be no dirt on the fur of the dog and that the dog had passed away in the igloo style doghouse in its sleep,” Waddell said.

Authorities say Ashley Gresham stated that Garrett had agreed to take care of the animals while her mother, Traci Gresham was hospitalized in December.

“Ashley had no evidence of the agreement. Ashley said Michael had warrants in Upson County for animal neglect,” Waddell said, adding that the Georgia Crime Information Center reported no active warrants for Garrett.

Waddell said Ashley Gresham claimed she had lived with Garrett in Upson County, and had left the dogs in his care when she moved out. She alleged she called him to check on the dogs on Christmas day, and that he said they were fine.

“Ashley (Gresham) stated she had filed a police report with Upson County in reference to stolen property. Ashley stated a Deputy Richard with Upson County told her the dogs had been taken by Upson County Animal Control two days prior,” Waddell said, again repeating that contrary to her claims, his investigation indicated Garrett had no outstanding warrants.

After speaking with Traci Gresham, Ashley Gresham’s mother, who reportedly told deputies the dogs belonged to her daughter, the suspect was taken into custody and transported to the Spalding County Jail, where she remains in custody.

Maj. Dwayne Jones said that while it is not unusual for the SCSO to respond to reports of potential animal neglect, this case is unique.

“I would characterize it as being unusual. In my knowledge of it, that seems to be unusual,” he said.

Jones recommends anyone who is concerned about potential animal abuse or neglect report it to local authorities.

“In the event they believe there is cruelty being inflicted to an animal, I would encourage them to contact local law enforcement. First of all, during normal business hours, Animal Control would be my first call, and of course we’re open 24/7, so we can respond. We work very closely with Animal Control,” Jones said. “They have someone on call, but often, we can respond more quickly because we’re already on patrol, and if necessary, we can contact the Animal Control officer.”

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