BEND, OR -- In the past two weeks, Deschutes County deputies have removed over a hundred animals from properties where they were allegedly being neglected. Sgt. William Bailey says two criminal investigations are happening simultaneously. "We’re talking, you know, 53 dogs and 83 horses. It takes time to go through that. And then, once we have an overall understanding of the neglect in each animal, we have an idea of what charges to charge the suspect with." In both cases, the owners are charged with felony animal neglect.
Sgt. Bailey says the two cases have distinct differences impacting the future of the animals, "In both cases the level of neglect varied. Some dogs were in better condition than others
, and after being evaluated by a veterinarian and the Humane Society of Central Oregon, they’ve already been adopted out; which is great. We’ll get them into homes and families that can care for them and love them. A couple of days ago, I checked in with them and there were still puppies under veterinarian care. The puppies were definitely needing more care than the adult dogs." According to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, 20 of the dogs have found new homes, while 11 continue to receive care at the Bend shelter and four others are in foster care. They will be available for adoption once they're cleared by medical staff. HSCO transferred 18 of the La Pine dogs to the Oregon Humane Society in Portland, to ease overcrowding. Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "In that case, when we showed up to the house to seize the dogs, the owner relinquished custody and ownership of the dogs to the Humane Society of Central Oregon. Now, they become property of the Humane Society of Central Oregon and they can adopt dogs out as they’re healthy enough to do so."
However, the owner of the horses seized from a Terrebonne ranch
has not relinquished ownership. When deputies first arrived, they discovered 85 horses on the property; two were euthanized by the owner and eight others were put down two days later, due to their poor condition. The other 75 are now being cared for at the Sheriff’s Office Rescue Ranch in Bend, "Those are evidence in a criminal case, at this point," says Sgt. Bailey. "So, the case will go to the courts and we just have to wait to see how the case plays out."
He says the Sheriff's Office budgets for the ranch to care for a few animals each year, but providing feed and medical care for so many horses is likely to strain resources if the court case is prolonged, "We have had an incredible community that’s reached out to us. Feed and hay are going to be probably our biggest challenge
, to start. But we also need to plan for the long term."