Hoschton couple charged after malnourished dog chews off foot

Written by: K. Bishop

Published March 15, 2023 @ 8:40 PM ET

Barrow County (February 27, 2023) – Deputies and animal control officers seized several animals from a home on Fleeman Road after a Rottweiler was found malnourished and missing a paw. It was believed that the dog had chewed off its own foot.

Deputies say Buffy Lynn Sims and Justin Lee Sims owned the animals and were served with a search warrant for the home due to the condition of the animals.

According to reports, animal control received a tip about the Rottweiler who was missing a foot. The owners claimed the dog had gone missing and recently returned home in poor condition, missing a foot and eating “sporadically.” After speaking with Mrs. Simms, she agreed to take the dog to a vet.

However, the vet could not see the animal, and Simms was instructed to bring the dog to animal control, and they would see that a vet treated it. Simms turned her dog in and left without any communication. The Rottweiler was emaciated and in poor condition.

The sheriff’s office was contacted regarding the dog, and a search warrant was issued for the Simms property, where several cats, two small dogs, and parakeets were found. All animals were seized, and the Simms were ordered to return home to speak with the officers and investigators. Four dogs arrived at the house with the couple and were taken by animal control.

The Simms were arrested and taken to the Barrow County Jail. They were each charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and two counts of animal cruelty.

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the official initial incident report. The Georgia Gazette does not fix any spelling or grammatical errors that may exist. Any changes or redactions made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The topics discussed may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.]

[NARRATIVE #1 on February 27, 2023]

On the date of February 27, 2023 at 1030 hours, Inv. Crowe spoke with [WITNESS #1] the Director of Barrow County Animal Control. [WITNESS #1] stated to Inv. Crowe on the date of February 24, 2023, she received an anonymous tip about the well being of an animal at 1005 Fleeman Rd. (Rottweiler mix), The anonymous tip stated that the animal was being neglected, not being fed, and had chewed its own foot off. [WITNESS #1] stated she rode out to the location and made contact with Buffy Sims. [WITNESS #1] asked about the wellbeing of the animal and asked about its foot. Buffy stated that she had the Rottweiler about a month when the animal ran off, she continued to state when the Rottweiler returned the animal returned with the injury on it. [WITNESS #1] asked about the malnutrition of the animal due to it being sunken in and the rib cage along with the hips exposed due to starvation. Buffy stated the animal ate sporadically.

Buffy stated she would take the animal to the vet in Gwinnett on this date. [WITNESS #1] called the vet where Buffy was going to take the Rottweiler to and the Veterinarian stated to [WITNESS #1] that they didn’t have time to look or treat the animal. [WITNESS #1] stated to Buffy to drop the Rottweiler off at Barrow County Animal Control and they would take it to the Veterinarian. [WITNESS #1] stated Buffy dropped the animal off and left Barrow County Animal Control with out speaking with the staff. [WITNESS #1] took the Rottweiler to Winder Animal Hospital to have a full medical panel ran on the animal. Inv. Crowe also observed the poor condition of the animal.

[End of Narrative]

[NARRATIVE #2 on February 27, 2023]

On February 27, 2023 around 1408 hours, I traveled to 1005 Fleeman Rd along with Barrow County Investigators and Animal Control Officers in reference to executing a search warrant on the residence and attempting to serve an arrest warrant for Buffy Sims and Justin Sims. When I arrived on scene, myself and other deputies executed the search warrant on the residence but neither occupant was at home. We made entry into the residence while the residents were not present with the search warrant in hand. Two small dogs, four cats, and two birds were seized from inside the residence by Animal Control.

While on scene, Buffy and Justin were contacted over the telephone and advised to return to the residence. Shortly afterwards, Buffy and Justin returned to the residence as instructed along with four canines inside the vehicle. The animals were seized by the Animal Control Officers on scene. Buffy and Justin were placed under arrest while their warrants were confirmed by Dispatch via radio. Both Justin and Buffy were placed in handcuffs (checked for fit and double locked), searched incident to arrest, and placed in the rear seat of my patrol vehicle. After the warrant was confirmed, both Buffy and Justin were transported to the Barrow County Jail and released to the custody of the deputies on staff. The rear seat was searched for contraband and none was found after Buffy and Justin were removed from the vehicle.

[End of Narrative]