ROGERSVILLE — After nearly five months Hawkins County deputies served an arrest warrant for cruelty to animals earlier this month on a man accused of allowing his pack of German Shepherds to run loose without food or needed medical treatment.
Jimmy Lee Gilliam, 57, 471 Flora Road, Rogersville, was arraigned on Dec. 12, on charges of cruelty to animals and allowing animals to run at large.
But, as of Thursday his approximately seven dogs were still running loose.
A neighbor who was feeding the dogs to keep them from starving to death initially reported Gilliam in July.
The neighbor told Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeff Walker they had been buying food and pouring it out on the side of the road due to concerns over the health of the animals, which appeared starved.
The neighbors contacted the HCSO in July, however, because they were no longer going to be able to feed the dogs due to their finances.
On July 24, Walker spoke to Gilliam's ex wife who said they weren't able to buy food for the dogs, but the dogs were able to get water from the river.
Ms. Gilliam also stated the dogs were in need of medical treatment which they were unable to provide.
Jimmy Gilliam was at work at that time and couldn't be reached.
Walker stated in his report that deputies were dispatched on multiple occasions to check the welfare of the dogs.
On Aug. 5, Walker issued an arrest warrant for Gilliam which was served Dec. 11.
Gilliam was arraigned Dec. 12, and a new court date of Jan. 23 has been scheduled.
Hawkins County Humane Society manager Sandy Behnke said she is unable to seize the dogs unless they are surrendered by Gilliam or the court orders them forfeited.
"I have been on this case for months, wanting so bad to get these babies," Behnke said. "The pups were approximately six months old, and I was concerned about inbreeding. And indeed this is what is happening."