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The Hillsville kennel owner whose 63 dogs were seized last month from what state police called "deplorable" conditions is considering selling the dogs to the Angels of Assisi shelter in Roanoke.
Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott County, the attorney representing David Winesett, said Tuesday that his client is getting out of the dog breeding business.
"It has just taken a toll on him going through all this," Kilgore said.
The dogs have been caught up in what amounts to a custody battle since a judge dismissed a civil case against Winesett earlier this month on a technicality — the hearing was not held within 10 business days of the seizure.
Because of an agreement between the state and Kilgore, Winesett's dogs remained in the care of Angels of Assisi until an appeal was heard and the decision upheld last week in Carroll County Circuit Court.
Kilgore said he is working to negotiate a price for Winesett, who used to be chief dog warden in Carroll County.
Purchasing the dogs is not the best financial scenario for Angels of Assisi, a nonprofit organization. But volunteer coordinator Lisa O'Neill said the dogs' well-being is the shelter's main interest.
"They are too old to be outside in the elements and live in wire cages. They just need the chance to be on someone's couch," O'Neill said.
When the Yorkshire terriers, dachshunds, poodles, Boston terriers and schnauzers arrived in Roanoke, they were treated for damaged nails, decayed teeth, infected ears and paws, and other injuries — the likely result of living in cramped and dirty quarters, according to those involved in the case.
The state attorney general's office has about two more weeks to appeal the circuit court's decision to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
It was not known if Winesett will face criminal charges.