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Woman found in house full of dogs; son charged

Authorities have charged a Gwinnett County man with cruelty against the elderly after police found his 76-year-old mother in a Dacula home “littered in filth, feces, urine and other trash.”

About 10 a.m. Monday, someone spotted the woman wandering in the 1100 block of Paiute Court and called 911, Gwinnett police Cpl. Michele Pihera said. The caller told a dispatcher the woman “was living in deplorable conditions and had a house full of dogs,” Pihera said.

When Gwinnett police officers arrived at the scene, they learned the woman lived with her son, identified as 52-year-old John Soper. The woman told police she was often left unattended at the house while her son worked.

“The victim is often left to fend for herself and has no assistance,” Pihera said. “A few neighbors had tried assisting in cleaning the residence, but had to leave after a few minutes due to the smell and the mess.”

Gwinnett fire crews treated the woman on the scene before taking her to Gwinnett Medical Center for additional evaluation, police said. The woman was later taken to a personal care home in Barrow County.

“Adult Protective Services has been notified and will hopefully be able to help her with finding a permanent placement,” Pihera said.

Animal Control officers removed about 25 small- to medium-sized dogs from the home, Pihera said. The dogs, described as Beagles ranging from 7 weeks to 3 years old, are available for adoption at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville for $30. The fee will be reduced to $20 if prospective owners bring five canned goods for local food banks.

Soper, the son, was arrested and jailed on a charge of cruelty to a person who is 65 years or older. He was released from the county jail on $2,950 bond, deputy Shannon Volkodav said.

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