KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One of the four people charged in an animal cruelty case stemming from nearly 40 animals being removed from a Knox County home has waived her preliminary hearing and taken her case to a grand jury, court records say.
Haylee Morris is facing charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, cruelty to animals, and violating the rabies law. According to court records, Morris was in court on September 15, when she waived her preliminary hearing.
In March, 38 live animals were taken from a home on Leclay Drive to Young-Williams Animal Center. Another 5 were found dead inside the home. A pet owner told WATE that her dog died while being pet-sat by Morris.
In April, WATE reported that four people were charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, two counts of cruelty to animals, and one count of violation of rabies laws.
Isabella Morris and Michelle Burgess-Morris both had their aggravated cruelty to animal charges dismissed, but their cruelty to animals and violation of rabies law charges were diverted, records say.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation explains that diversion “allows a charge or charges to be diverted for an agreed upon amount of time once the defendant pleads guilty and agrees to conditions given by the judge.”
For Burgess-Morris, those conditions include two 11-month, 29-day sentences to be served consecutively at 0% and a 30-day sentence, 72 hours of community service, and a lifetime ban of possessing any animals aside from one service dog.
Isabella Morris was sentenced to two 11-month, 29-day sentences to be served consecutively at 0%, a 30-day sentence, and a lifetime ban from possessing any animals.
The charges against the fourth person were dismissed, court documents said.