The ex-wife of the man convicted of assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested this week in Tennessee on more than 40 counts of animal cruelty for allegedly neglecting at least 46 dogs, two of which ultimately died, local officials said.
Anna Sandhu Ray, who was previously married to James Earl Ray, was charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty after the Jackson, Tenn., the Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) told Fox News on Tuesday. Animal Care Center rescuers seized 44 surviving dogs from her property on Monday, according to a post on the center’s Facebook page and an email from an ARC spokesperson. Two dogs were discovered dead on the property.
Tim Woodward, ARC’s executive director said the conditions at Ray’s home were “among the worst we have seen in the ten years we have been dealing with cases where large numbers of animals are suffering.”
“These dogs desperately needed to be removed from that unlivable environment and will need ongoing veterinary care,” Woodward said. “We appreciate the City of Jackson and Jackson Animal Services for immediately requesting our help with this difficult rescue.”
According to a post on ARC’s Facebook page, the animals were “living in a condemned house on piles of trash and their own waste.” Some were in cages.
The post also adds: “There was no food or water when ARC’s Field Team arrived.”
Ray, who is 74 years old, according to local reports, was married to convicted assassin James Earl Ray for about 10 years before announcing in 1988 her plans to divorce him.
Ray was sentenced in 1969 to 99 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to shooting and killing King as the civil rights leader stood on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Anna previously told The Associated Press she believed the killing was instigated by the Soviet government.
James Earl Ray died in 1998.
Anna has an alleged history of animal abuse. According to another Associated Press report, Ray was arrested in 1996 and her home was condemned after police discovered 15 dogs and 10 cats in need of attention inside, plus “several” more dead animals.
On Monday, the Jackson Animal Care Center said in a Facebook post that the case against Ray had been under investigation since November.
“I know cases like this are hard to fathom and even harder to look at. Some days it feels like we’re losing the war in Animal Welfare, but today- the good guys won,” the post further states. “44 dogs now have a chance at a wonderful life because of these gritty, determined people who refuse to lay down and quit.”
ARC is covering the costs of treatment and care for the animals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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