PRESS RELEASE – On January 11, 2024, the Forsyth County Animal Services Division requested the assistance of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit in an animal cruelty case.
Forsyth County Animal Services had been dealing with the residents at 5675 Archer Ave since April of 2023 when a puppy was sold from that location and later died from parvovirus, an extremely contagious disease.
The occupants were instructed not to adopt any other animals until the residence and other animals on scene were treated for parvovirus, which they ignored.
In December 2023, two other puppies from that location had to be humanely euthanized due to parvovirus and in January 2024 two other puppies from that location were sick with parvovirus.
One of those puppies was humanely euthanized due to the severity of the illness and the other was seized by the vet and treated for parvovirus.
On January 11, 2024, Animal Services responded to 5675 Archer Ave and observed a deceased dog on the front porch that likely died of parvovirus and seized another dog from inside the home that was sick.
On January 12, 2024, a search warrant was obtained for the residence for the seizure of all animals.
Upon execution of the search warrant, the residence was observed in extreme filth and disarray, with trash, feces, and urine throughout the home.
Dogs were in cages, 2 per cage, without water as the residence did not have running water.
A total of 12 dogs and two bearded dragons were seized during the search warrant.
The rescued animals are currently receiving medical treatment and care at the Forsyth County Pet Resource Center (formerly the Animal Shelter).
On January 16, 2024, detectives were notified that one of the residents, Emily Wilgus, adopted a puppy over the weekend via Facebook and another resident, Sheyann Edwards, adopted another dog through Facebook.
These individuals and the other residents in the home had been warned several times of the dangers of parvovirus, however, continue to bring animals into the home.
Knowing parvovirus to be dangerously contagious, the residents of the household maliciously and with intent, failed to provide sanitary conditions and medical treatment to the animals living within the residence to the extent it resulted in the death of five animals.
Arrest warrants were obtained for 28-year-old Emily Wilgus for 3 counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and 2 counts of Cruelty to Animals, 22-year-old Sheyanne Edwards for Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and 4 counts of Cruelty to Animals, 28-year-old Lashia Samples for 5 counts Cruelty to Animals, 24-year-old Hannah Glenn for 4 counts of Cruelty to Animals, 34-year-old Jonathan Jagneaux for Cruelty to Animals, and 18-year-old Kiara Wallis for 2 counts of Cruelty to Animals. All six individuals were taken into custody and transported to the Forsyth County Jail. The two puppies adopted over the weekend along with a cat were seized by animal control.
“The Animal Services team worked quickly to respond to the alleged case and partnered with the Sheriff’s Office for the investigation as quickly as possible once the severity of the situation was apparent,” said Forsyth County Community & Animal Safety Director Jerry Ramos. “We feel that the reason we were able to rescue as many animals as we did was because of the great partnership between Animal Services, the Pet Resource Center and the Sheriff’s Office.”