RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Three members of a Richmond family are facing animal cruelty charges after Richmond Animal Care and Control rescued nearly 60 animals from the home in September 2022.
In October, the agency reported that 19 dogs, 33 cats, a rabbit, a turtle, a pot belly pig and a raccoon had been saved from filthy conditions.
8News spoke with neighbors near the property who said the rescue had been a long time coming.
“There were always suspicions that there was something off about the house,” said Susan Trout, a nearby resident. “Smells coming from the house that we couldn’t pinpoint.”
Court documents obtained by 8News show that three members of the Jernigan family — identified as Jim Jernigan, Brittany Jernigan and Lucinda Jernigan — received dozens of misdemeanor charges on Nov. 9, 2022, in connection to the incident that occurred on their property on Wainfleet Drive.
“I have animals myself,” Trout said. “To know animals were suffering like that across the street just broke my heart.”
According to search warrants executed by Richmond Animal Care and Control, officers entered the home on Sept. 30, 2022, to find a “noxious odor” and upwards of 8 inches of feces piled up on the floor. A day earlier, during a welfare check on Sept. 29, homeowner Jim Jernigan admitted that there was a cat inside that had been hit by a car and then partially eaten by another animal, according to court documents.
“We obviously never wanted to see another animal end up in that house. So, everybody was watching,” Trout said. “It still bothers me to think that they suffered that much.”
Other court documents show a history of animal-related incidents related to the Jernigan family going back to 2004, when animals were seized from another home they lived in at the time.
Correction: This article has been updated to clarify where animals were seized in 2004.