08/03/2020 See update at bottom
The answer: Georgia Department of Agriculture inspectors aren’t scrutinizing all 35 acres on which these animals are being kept. Only the “hospital”–a tiny portion of the entire property– is described in the inspection reports’ notes and attachments.
Joy Bohannon’s 35-acre “rescue and sanctuary” is far larger than the area labeled in the above photo. Structures visible from the air and The Gate are a fraction of the total acreage. Inspecting all of the domesticated species on those 35 acres would require at least three inspectors an entire day. The inspection reports we have indicate a single individual performing this function.
The inspection reports dated May 6th and May 8th of 2019 are illustrative of the problem. On May 6th inspector Tammy Cowart wrote:
I visited the above Rescue to perform a routine inspection. The owner was not home, and a worker was present named Larry Hinkley. I asked if I may take a picture of the clean grounds and he called the owner and she said that was ok, but could I return another time for the inspection. I told him that someone would return at another time.
Inspectors must get permission from the inspected entity to access property and take photographs? Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of an inspection?
Tammy Cowart took five photographs of the “hospital” area and one photo of The Gate (bottom right picture, purple line in the aerial photo.) The “hospital” area doesn’t look too bad in these photos.
I’ve stood at The Gate (bottom right) and know how little one can actually see from the padlocked area. Forgive the odd angle of this video as I haven’t purchased the software to straighten it.
On March 8, two days after Tammy Cowart’s aborted inspection, Dianna Sellers performed the “routine inspection” and wrote:
Routine inspection with owner Joy was performed during today’s visit. Currently there is a total of 146 dogs and 21 cats on the property. All enclosures appear to be in a structurally sound working condition. Some of the quarantine puppy enclosures are beginning to show signs of age, owner states she has plans on replacement of these enclosures. Mobile home trailer is being used for stressed/special needs animals along with cat housing and office area. Currently this area is being used for storage as well with blankets, bedding, and food being stored. Storage requirements are in need of addressing due to overflow of supplies in some area. A metal tractor trailer container has been placed in the yard area of mobile home which will be used for storage once its made weather proof. [ed. This structure exists only beside the Hospital.] All supplies will be moved to this area in the near future when roofing material is in place. No violation has been issued at this time due to supplies maintained orderly at this time. All animals housed indoors in this area have access to an outdoor fenced exercise area. These animals are allowed outdoors as weather permits. Animals maintained in outdoor areas have access to houses and metal roofed sheltering. All enclosures are based with concrete, with daily scooping of solids and daily cleaning on enclosures to drain and septic areas. All foods are properly maintained I (sic) sealed containers. All records were reviewed and appear to be complete and up to date at this time. All animals appear to be receiving adequate and humane care at this time. All animals appear to be receiving adequate and humane care at this time. (sic) There was a total of 4 persons on the property performing routine daily cleaning activities. Fire extinguishers are available throughout the facility and are properly charged and placed. Facility is located on private property, a current license is available for use during adoption events. A copy of this report will be emailed to email@example.com END
Everything above appears true of the “hospital” area but Ms. Sellers makes no mention of the “complex.” Barn, sheds, other buildings and the conditions of those locations are absent from all the reports I have. Nor does she mention Joy Bohannon granting permission to pass through The Gate into the “complex” where the majority of structures are located.
Ms Sellers writes that there are “a total of 146 dogs and 21 cats on the property” but cannot possibly have seen 146 dogs in the one outdoor kennel and two fenced outdoor areas surrounding the “hospital.” One hundred forty six dogs on one acre would be cesspool. Where did Ms. Sellers get that number and did she actually see 146 dogs and 21 cats? She couldn’t possibly have seen all those animals without going through The Gate and nothing she described exists beyond The Gate.
The sentence regarding “private property” and a “license” for “adoption events” fascinates me. I know Bohannon’s name is on the deed. Does that mean Bohannon dictates where inspectors may go? If not, why is that sentence in the report and why isn’t it called a “shelter license?” What kind of “license” is specific to “adoption events” and nothing else? Is the license specified a business license or something else?
If GA Department of Agriculture inspectors require property owners’ consent to inspect all of the property on which a “shelter” operates, our question is answered.
GARD’s owner Joy Bohannon passes inspections by refusing Georgia Department of Agriculture inspectors access to the vast majority of the property.
I found an answer to my question regarding whether GA Dept of Ag inspectors had to get permission from the inspected to access property. According to the Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred 2020 report the answer is yes, they do. Page 10:
When inspectors arrived for a fourth inspection on Dec. 18, 2019, Mr. Bray was there but claimed to have an injury and would not let them inspect the property, which is a significant concern because it could indicate that poor conditions had returned.
Kind of like Georgia Department of Revenue Criminal Investigations personnel having to ask to see a suspicious business’ records. Sheesh.