- Felony Charges Filed in Case Involving 383 Neglected Animals in Laton, CA
- Five Dogs Seized from House in Southwest Fresno Due To Neglect
- Two Hound Dogs Abandoned
- 4 Dogs Seized from Apartment on Hot Day
- Abused Pit Bull Rescued
- Neglected Senior Pit Bull Rescued from Neglect
- 102 Fighting Roosters Seized
- Abandoned Pit Bull Left in Crate to Die Rescued
- 61 Animals Seized from “Animal Rescue” in Squaw Valley
- 4 Neglected Dogs Seized from Verge of Death
- 11 Horses Seized Due To Neglect
- 19 Horses Seized Due to Neglect
- 12 Animals Rescued From Severe Neglect
Felony Charges Filed in Case Involving 383 Neglected Animals in Laton, CA
On Monday, May 21, 2018, charges were filed against the “no-kill” rescue, Laton Animal Rescue, for neglecting 383 animals. Kimber Lee Colvin was charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty and neglect (Case #F18903352).
383 animals were relinquished and/or seized between December 2015 and March 2016 from Laton Animal Rescue following a complaint made about a suspected neglect situation. The CCSPCA found the dogs, livestock, and equines at the “no-kill” rescue were suffering from a variety of medical conditions and lacked basic care.
Additionally, seven dogs were found with a severe skin disease, five tested positive for sarcoptic mange, and two tested positive for demodectic mange. 82% of the dogs that were tested were positive for ehrlichia. 87 tested positive for anaplasmosis and 72 tested positive for internal parasites, consisting of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and coccidia. A majority of the tested dogs were inflicted with one or more medical conditions. A necropsy on two deceased Zebu cattle found on the property determined the cause of death to be starvation.
Many of the dogs were successfully treated and were able to find loving forever homes, but we are saddened to report that a large number of them were humanely euthanized. This decision was difficult, but due to the severity of the untreated conditions caused by the “no-kill” rescue’s negligence, we needed to end their needless suffering.
Because of the widely recognized link between animal cruelty and domestic violence/abuse, we appreciate the District Attorney’s office for recognizing the importance of prosecuting animal cruelty cases. We would also like to extend a special thank you to the Fresno Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in this case.
Five Dogs Seized from House in Southwest Fresno Due To Neglect
Original Story: In August 2015, our humane officers were dispatched to a house in southeast Fresno because there was a report of animal neglect. When the officers arrived they found five dogs on the property, four Pit Bulls and one German Shephard. The German Shephard looked like it was paralyzed in the hind end and possibly blind, one of the Pit Bulls had open, weeping wounds covering his hind quarter and part of his legs. He was also very thin. The other three Pit Bulls were covered in ticks and other small scrapes. Our officers seized all 5 dogs that day and had them immediately examined by our veterinarian. The German Shephard had a fracture to its spine, which could not be fixed, and unfortunately was humanely euthanized. The burned Pit Bull was placed in our Small Animal Hospital to be carefully watched by our staff and begin the healing process. The other 3 Pit Bulls were treated with flea and tick medication and their minor scrapes tended to.
Update 8/21/15: The severely burned Pit bull took a turn for the worse and we had to humanely euthanize to relieve pain and seizures.
Update 4/27/2016: We have submitted a request for charges to the District Attorney’s office.
Two Hound Dogs Abandoned
Original Story: In July 2015 we received a call about two dogs left in an abandoned apartment. One of our Humane Officers went to investigate and saw at least two dogs inside the apartment. As part of protocol, the left a notice on the door stating that in 48 hours they would be removing the dogs from the property. Two days later, the officer returns to the apartment, the notice is gone, but the dogs still remain. The landlord of the apartment let our officers into the dwelling. The officers were met by strong smelling urine and feces, torn apart furniture, cockroaches, and drug paraphernalia. According to neighbors, the residents had 3 dogs, two hound dogs and one pit bull. They said the tenants took the pit bull with them and left the hound dogs. The two hound dogs were rescued along with a large aquarium that had one live fish. The two dogs have found forever homes with loving families and our adoptions department has “adopted” the aquarium and fish.
4 Dogs Seized from Apartment on Hot Day
Original Story: In July 2015, we received a call about several dogs barking, whimpering, and one possibly not moving, without shade or water on a hot patio at an apartment complex. When one of our Humane Officers arrived on scene, it was exactly as the reporting party stated – 2 dogs in a small crated, placed in direct sun, with no food or water, and one looked dead. In the apartment, we found one dog inside, happy and healthy, and 3 dogs outside on the patio – 2 in the small crate and one hiding under some trash to keep cool. One of the dogs in the crate was deceased and the other barely alive. The officer immediately brought all dogs inside, gave them water, and placed the heat-stressed dog under some cool, running water. As soon as the dog was stable, the officer brought all dogs to the CCSPCA to be examined by our shelter veterinarian. Other than being severally dehydrated, all dogs were okay. All dogs have now found new loving, forever homes.
Update 1/25/16: We have submitted a request for charges to the District Attorney’s office and suspect has been arrested.
Update 6/13/16: Jovohanna Morris (DOB: 7-27-1992) faces up to three (3) years in Fresno County Jail when she is sentenced on July 27, 2016, by Honorable Judge Brian Alvarez. Charges were brought against Ms. Morris as a result of an animal neglect investigation by the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CCSPCA).
Abused Pit Bull Rescued
Original Story: On the morning of June 25 we received a complaint about a man beating his dog. A Humane Officer responded to the call and found the dog severely injured bound to pieces of furniture in a hot garage. She quickly rushed the dog to Veterinary Emergency Services. They assessed the dog to find a frontal skull fracture and other relatively minor injuries. Princess, the brown Pit Bull, remained in the care of VES for several days then transported to the CCSPCA Small Animal Hospital for continuing care.
Update July 2015: The suspect, Tyrell Harris, has been arrested for animal cruelty. We will be charging Harris with felony animal abuse. Princess is currently recovering at our Small Animal Hospital. She is keeping in high spirits and loves getting frequent visits from staff.
Update December 2015: Tyrell Harris has been sentenced to 32 months in state prison for pleading guilty to animal abuse charges. His sentencing is scheduled for February 1, 2016. We’d like to thank the District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Unit for prosecuting and winning this case on behalf of Princess. As of today, her medical bills have amounted to over $13,000. Princess also has found her forever home with one of our veterinarian staff members.
Neglected Senior Pit Bull Rescued from Neglect
Original Story: In March 2015 we rescued a senior aged Pit Bull from neglect. She was covered in over 500 ticks, dehydrated, and emaciated. The ticks also caused severe anemia. There were other dogs on the property that were well taken care of. The owners said that they placed her in the yard because she had gotten old and sometimes peed inside the house. Lady was examined by our veterinarians and receiving care for the tick infestation and other senior needs.
Update July 2015: Lady is now completely healthy! She is tick and anemic free. Lady has regained all of her weight back. We have submitted a request for animal neglect charges to the District Attroney’s office.
Update August 2015: There is an active warrant for the arrest of the suspect, Lady’s previous owner.
Update October 2015: Lady has been adopted and is living out her life in the country.
102 Fighting Roosters Seized
Original Story: In February 2015, The Central California SPCA, at the request of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, assisted in the collection, removal, transport, and sheltering of more than 100 fighting roosters from a property in Fresno County.
Cockfighting is a brutal blood sport where the roosters are forced to fight, often to the death for the entertainment and financial gain of their owners. The CCSPCA is proud to lend our expertise in animal fighting and collection to local authorities to help put an end to this disturbing activity and secure justice for the animal victims.
The roosters were transferred to the CCSPCA Animal Center by our Animal Control Officers where they will receive care from our veterinary technicians, animal handlers, and Humane Officers and Investigators.
Many of the details of this seizure are still unknown, as the case rests in the hands of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department.
Abandoned Pit Bull Left in Crate to Die Rescued
Original Story: On December 22, 2014, CCSPCA dispatchers received a complaint from an apartment manager in southeast Fresno reporting that neighboring units have been complaining about the smell of feces coming from one of the units and that a dog is kept in a small crate on the back patio with no food or water. An Animal Control Officer was dispatched to the scene and found an emaciated dog locked in a small crate on the back patio that was barely breathing. Despite multiple attempts, the officer could not get the poor dog to respond and so called for assistance from a Humane Officer.
Upon arrival at the apartment unit, the Humane Officer peered over the fence line and his heart sunk. He recalls that moment by stating “the horrendous condition that I found the dog in is something that will haunt me every day, like a picture with no delete option, an image permanently burned into my retinas.” The male Boxer/Bulldog blend was in a crate so small that his body was contorted into a “C” shape and his ribs, hips, and spine were clearly visible through his coat. A foul odor of feces accompanied by a metallic odor permeated from the crate. This poor animal was covered from head to toe in his own excrement and the only movement seen was his labored, shallow breathing. Unfortunately, the residents of the apartment had long since left with all their belongings, leaving behind their dog to starve to death.
The dog was immediately freed of his prison sentence of filth and starvation where it was then discovered that he had been forced to share the crate with an empty 12 inch diameter bowl in a space much too small for him alone. Once freed, he immediately began licking the hands of his rescuers and then panted happily in gratitude.
“Crook,” named so because of his twisted tail, weighed approximately 18 pounds upon arrival at the CCSPCA and was suffering from parasites and muscle atrophy due to starvation and a life lived in crate way too small for him. But through the compassionate and loving care of the CCSPCA staff, “Crook” is now nearly fully recovered and weighs 39 pounds! He is a very happy, energetic dog who will soon be looking to celebrate a new life with a loving family. Crook has since found his forever home!
61 Animals Seized from “Animal Rescue” in Squaw Valley
Original Story: Hidden from the world, down a faint dirt road, and camouflaged by trees and earth tone colored tarps in the foothills of rural Fresno County, CCSPCA Humane Officers discovered a deplorable scene in June 2013.
From the road only a few small piles of trash could be seen. Not enough to take a second look at while looking for an address. But even from the road the constant barking and whimpering howls could be heard coming from the forest. Once at the end of the dirt tire track road a quick look to the south gave you a flash of what was to come. Piles of trash, empty food bags, and livestock feed and pill bottles were back dropped by a large tarp blocking view of the “access road” to the sounds of distressed animals.
Just past the tarp several piles of trash and cages were scattered about.The farther our Humane Officers ventured in, the more animals, trash, and cages were found.
Animals were discovered in various stages of emaciation. Dogs were chained to trees scattered around the extremely cluttered property.
The majority of the dogs were on 3′ chains or cables. One dog was wrapped up in a tree with his food pan. None of the dogs had food. Two very feral cats had neither food nor water and were being kept in a small bird cage. Another cat was kept in a very large enclosure (back porch) full of empty cages, empty food bags, trash, bags of clothes, buckets of soiled cat litter, and 2 kiddie pools full of what appeared to be human feces. Neither food nor water was found with the cat. Litters of “used” collars were found everywhere. Certain areas had a strong smell of death. Also seized were various bird and fowl species and a potbellied pig.
All of these animals are now housed at the CCSPCA for further assessment.
Our Humane Officers went in and rescued these animals from further suffering. The suspect is known to be a 501c3 rescue organization. The CCSPCA does not release animals to this rescue. Further investigation is necessary and the suspect will have the opportunity to claim the animals. If the suspect chooses to claim the animals, a hearing to determine the legitimacy of the seizure will be held. We will seek prosecution on this case.
The initial condition of the animals has been determined by our CCSPCA Veterinarian Staff. The animals remain in guarded condition while further testing and assessment are conducted.
This is an excerpt from our Veterinarian, “The dogs were all in various stages of emaciation with most being in the 1/5 to 1.5/5 body condition score with a 3 being a dog in normal flesh. There were two Border Collie mixes that were apparently being kept together that were in a bit better flesh.”
Update July 2013: The animals are currently undergoing resocialization/behavioral modification, are being treated by our skilled veterinary team and being cared for by our compassionate staff. Our investigation is still on-going at this time.
However, we are pleased to announce that many of the seized animals are now up for adoption and several have already found their new forever homes!
Update September 2013: We have great news! Two very special girls, Patience and Smiley, from our Squaw Valley investigation were adopted! We were able to get one of our great Pet Placement Partners to come down to our pet campus and rescue dogs to give them a chance to be adopted out into the Bay Area.
Update December 2013: All 61 animals seized have found forever homes! Some were sent with our Pet Placement Organizations to give them an extra chance to find a loving home.
4 Neglected Dogs Seized from Verge of Death
Original Story: Humane Officer Gonzalez responded to a Fresno Police Department call regarding 2 emaciated pit bulls. Upon arrival the tenant was not at the property. The dogs were spotted in the back yard. One was completely down and feared dead, the other was still up on its feet, barely.
Humane Officer Gonzalez approached the 2 dogs; both looked like skeletons, and were severely dehydrated. When he reached for the white dog, the one they thought was deceased…she wagged her tail. She was alive, barely, but alive. Upon further inspection of the yard, Officer Gonzalez discovered 2 other dogs locked in a back patio area. One was a pit bull, also emaciated, and the other was a little white terrier mix.
Once Officer Gonzalez got the larger dogs loaded into the truck, he picked up the little dog, that’s when he noticed there was something not right with the little dogs jaw. It was off-set and left his tongue hanging out one side. After x-rays were taken, it was discovered that our little white dog had a non-union off-set fracture of the jaw bone.
When examined by specialists, it was determined that his jaw could be fixed by straightening it out and placing a metal plate in it to join the broken pieces. It is expected that once he recovers from this surgery, he’ll be able to live out a long and happy life. Surgery is scheduled for March 25, 2013.
Update March 26, 2013: Steve is resting comfortably at Veterinary Specialty Services. He is scheduled to undergo one more procedure later this afternoon (a bone graft to a very small piece of the jaw). Dr. Marco Cervi says his prognosis remains great and he should recover nicely. Steve is maintaining that wonderful attitude we all adore him for and we can’t wait to get him back to the shelter for lots of hugs and kisses.
Update June 2013: On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the CCSPCA staff and local media celebrated the amazing recovery of Steve Austin. Steve is now, large in part, recovered! For that, he deserved a cupcake! KMJ News Talk Radio’s Ray Appleton, broadcasted live from the CCSPCA during Steve’s party. The Cupcake King provided delicious cupcakes for all who attended and even Steve was able to chow down on his very own special cupcake!
So what’s next for Steve Austin? Steve will remain in CCSPCA Foster Care until his next exam in 4 weeks, with Dr. Cervi at Veterinary Specialty Services. Our thanks go out to everyone that supported and followed Steve Austin’s story.
11 Horses Seized Due To Neglect
Original Story: In February 2012, Humane Officers responded to a call regarding underweight horses from a ranch in Sanger, California. When they arrived they found 11 horses severely malnourished and extremely emaciated. The immediately seized all horses and brought them to the CCSPCA where the horses began their long, painful journey to health.
Update April 2016: Jose Romo, owner of all the 11 horses, entered pleas to 11 felony counts of animal cruelty. 10 of the 11 horses from this case have been adopted. Madison is still available for adoption. If interested in adopting Madison, please call 559-233-7722 ext. 119.
19 Horses Seized Due to Neglect
Original Story: In December 2011, Nineteen horses were taken into protective custody by the CCSPCA today due to extremely poor health, weight and overall conditions. Seven of the horses were found to be below a 2 on the Henneke Body Condition score (a 5 is considered normal), one was missing an eye, and many had various puncture wounds. Fourteen of the nineteen have been picked up and relocated and are now in a safe location and being examined by a veterinarian and the remaining five will be picked up tomorrow morning.
The horses still need go through more medical assessment this is just our Veterinarian’s initial report:
They are all underweight. The group is like a wild horse colony with no resources. They have had no apparent human interaction and it appears that nothing has been done for them at all. They are not used to halters or human interaction which makes treatment more difficult. They are quite young, the oldest possibly suffering from neglect for maybe 4 years. The babies have malformed feet due to not being trimmed and they walk with difficulty. They will all need deworming, their feet trimmed (some have such severe feet issues that they cannot walk properly), some will need antibiotics for infections, a few may be pregnant (they have had in breeding possibly due to not being separated properly). There is one gelding, the rest are mares and stallions.
Update September 2013: We are very pleased that the court saw the evidence for what it was and convicted Mr. Dana Kahler on the animal cruelty charges. However, we are very disappointed that the punishment does not fit the crime. The court chose to disregard the prosecution’s recommendation for the maximum punishment allowable for this heinous act. Not only did Mr. Kahler deliberately abuse and neglect his 19 horses, he cost this community thousands of dollars to bring these poor animals back to good health.
12 Animals Rescued From Severe Neglect
Original Story: In October 2010, nine boxers, two Labradors and a Chihuahua were rescued by our Humane Officers due to severe neglect. All the dogs were severely emaciated; however, one Boxer named Maggie was the worst. She weighed only 18 pounds. Her normal weight should have been 50 pounds. According to doctors, one more week in her neglected environment, she would be dead.
Due to Maggie’s state, she had problems maintaining her body temperature. While at the CCSPCA, the staff would spend their breaks with Maggie by wrapping her up in their coats and blankets, to keep her warm. Maggie also has stomach issues and would often refuse to eat. This was a condition that occurred due to her severe neglect.
In December 2010, Tony and Tabitha Bettencourt came to the shelter to find an addition to their family. They immediately fell in love with Maggie and adopted her! They were aware of Maggie’s past and decided to give her the forever home she deserved. The other twelve dogs also found loving homes.