Bond set for New Albany couple

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Union County judge has set a $50,000 bond for each of the 7 counts of child endangerment a New Albany couple is charged with, according to Union County Sheriff’s officials.

Janet and Ramon Barreto are also being investigated for the May 19 death of their 2-year-old adoptive child, Enna Barreto. Sheriff Tommy Wilhite has said her death has been ruled a homicide.

The $350,000 bond for each person was set on May 22 when the Barretos appeared before Union County Justice Court Judge Ronnie Rakestraw in New Albany, said Detention Officer Junior Thompson at the Union County Jail on Monday. Thompson said no additional court date was scheduled.

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Sheriff’s deputies on May 18 raided the Barretos’ home near New Albany after receiving a tip from doctors that the Barretos might have abused Enna.

Wilhite said Enna was taken from a local hospital to Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn. where she died. Doctors there suspected child neglect and tipped off Wilhite who got a warrant and raided the property.

Wilhite has said Shelby County, Tenn., officials conducted an autopsy and told him on May 19 of the homicide ruling. Officials said no charges have been filed in the child’s death.

During the raid, officials removed other children from the home and placed them into foster care, leading to the charges the couple faces.

Also, deputies discovered signs of a puppy mill operation where the puppies are sold for profit as more than 180 dogs, 25 cats and several ducks in various conditions were found. Sheriff’s officials turned the animals over to the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.

On the day before Memorial Day, dozens of volunteers created a makeshift veterinary clinic to care for the dogs, reported Memphis station WMC-TV.

Dr. Gretchen Ganas from the Animal Care Center in Tupelo examined each of the dogs and treated them for ailments that included ear infections and eye ulcerations.

“Worst conditions I’ve seen,” said Ganas. “This situation used only for breeding puppies, making money.”

After the dogs were examined, volunteers began the difficult process of freeing them from filth. Volunteers shaved the dogs’ coats, which had become matted with feces. One dog’s ear canal had closed, overgrown with fur. The volunteers cleaned canine ears and clipped overgrown and ingrown nails.

After their examinations and baths, the dogs were transported to a warehouse donated by a Tupelo business owner. There, the dogs will continue to be treated until they’re ready for a permanent family.

Animal shelter director Debbie Hood of the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society said the animals will require a special adoptive family because of what they have faced.