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La Pine-area woman who relinquished 17 of her 24 dogs charged with felony animal neglect

Follow-up check on 7 'personally owned dogs' found 'greatly improved' living conditions

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A La Pine-area woman who relinquished 17 of her 24 dogs late last month has been cited on 17 felony counts of second-degree animal neglect after an investigation and evaluations determined they were malnourished and not receiving adequate care, the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office said Monday.

Deputies responded in late March to a home in the 16000 block of Alpine Drive regarding a complaint that the 54-year-old woman was operating a dog rescue in her home and that the health of several dogs was in question, Sergeant Jason Wall said.

Investigating deputies determined there were a total of 24 dogs living in the home. The living conditions they were being exposed to was unacceptable, Wall said, and some dogs needed veterinarian intervention for malnourishment and injuries.

"There was animal feces on the floors inside the kennels," Wall said. "The dogs had animal feces caked within their fur. They all smelled of urine and fecal matter. They describe they could smell the interior of the home's condition on the exterior. That's a very powerful smell, if you're able to smell animal urine and animal fecal matter through closed doors and closed windows."

The woman agreed to relinquish 17 of the dogs to the sheriff’s office, which in turn released the dogs to the Humane Society of Central Oregon.

Wall said deputies on scene agreed to let her keep the seven personally owned dogs, as “they were in relatively good condition.” She was advised to improve the living conditions in her home to avoid seizure of those dogs as well, along with criminal penalties.

Deputies met last Monday, April 3 with HSCO officials to discuss the evaluation and current status of the seized dogs, Wall said. They determined, “supported by medical documentation, that all dogs seized were not receiving minimum care, were malnourished and in dire need of attention to their general hygiene,” he said.

HSCO accompanied deputies to Sorensen’s home to conduct a follow-up and evaluate the seven dogs remaining her care. They determined “mild to moderate care was needed” for two of the dogs, Wall said, but “deputies witnessed the residence had been cleaned and the living conditions greatly improved.”

The woman was issued a citation in lieu of custody for 17 counts of second-degree animal neglect, a felony. The investigation is ongoing and has been rereferred to the district attorney’s office for review As of Monday afternoon, court records showed formal charges had not been filed, so NewsChannel 21 is not naming the suspect at this time.

Wall said the sheriff’s office will conduct further follow-up with the woman to ensure adequate living conditions for the seven dogs is maintained and does not decline.

The sheriff’s office thanked the Humane Society of Central Oregon and the Pet Evacuation Team for their assistance in the investigation.

HSCO continues to provide care, treatment and evaluations for the relinquished dogs, according to Lynne Ouchida, director of community partnerships.

As for their current status, Ouchida said three of the dogs have been adopted, five are currently available and two more will be available soon. She said the dogs are German shepherds, Siberian huskies and pit bull mixes.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Barney Lerten

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