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      Owner of puppy mill faces charges

      Officials have charged a Worth County man in connection to the puppy mill that was discovered Thursday.

      Lewis Hillard faces one felony count of aggravated Cruelty to Animals and one misdemeanor count of Cruelty to Animals.

      Mark Murrah, with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, says unfortunately they do see quite a few unlicensed breeders within the state of Georgia, but he prides his department on finding them quickly.

      Murrah says on the other hand, there are roughly 1,100 legal/licensed breeders (also known as "puppy mills") within the state. What makes them legal is that they have that license through the GA Department of Agriculture. The department has inspectors that routinely check up on these breeders making sure they have sanitary living conditions, the dogs are in good health, and that they have the proper records and documentation for each dog.

      Murrah says in a case like this one, it is highly unlikely that Hillard will ever be able to obtain a license; they hope that along with the charges he faces will permanently put an end to what he was doing.

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