Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10010
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, Aug 31, 2006

County: Matanuska Susitna

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Cynthia Criswell

The City of Houston recently came into a supply of Chinese crested dogs, the result of shutting down what Animal Safety and Protection Chief Dennis Lords described as a puppy mill.

Lords and his deputy, Rick Molburg, confiscated 63 of the animals Aug. 31 from a woman's home on King Arthur Drive, Lords said. Nineteen of the animals are left, and Lords wants to find them all homes.

"They want lots of lovin'," he said Thursday. "But they never had it."

The puppies in the confiscated lot were found new homes or shipped out of state by their owner, Lords said. The remaining dogs are between ages 1 and 9, he said.

None are housebroken, so their new owners will need patience. Neither have they ever been on a leash. The dogs lived so long in filthy conditions that they still have an aroma about them, Lords said.

But they clean up well, and some of the animals went to a new owner in Anchorage who has had some success housebreaking them, he said.

The breed comes in two varieties, the hairless and the powderpuff, according to the American Kennel Club. Lords said he has both at the animal shelter. The powderpuff comes with hair. They are small dogs, described on the Kennel Club Web site as playful and entertaining.

Lords said Houston police responding to a domestic dispute in late May discovered evidence of many dogs in the house in the 12000 block of West King Arthur Boulevard. He arrived the next morning with a police officer and found 60 dogs in the house, and two larger dogs and two cats outside it, he said.

Their owner, Cynthia Criswell, lacked a kennel permit, rabies-vaccination records for the dogs and a use permit to keep that many dogs in a residential area, Lords said. He said he gave Criswell time to find homes for the dogs, but after three months she still had many of them.

He said Criswell told him she sold the puppies over the Internet for as much as $2,500 each.

The animals, he said, all lived in the house. The smell inside burned his eyes and lungs, he added.

On Aug. 22, Lords responded to a complaint on King Arthur to find 15 of the dogs were loose on the street. "It took us four hours to get them," he said.

He said he wrote citations amounting to $1,500 in fines but set them aside in return for Criswell surrendering the animals. Criswell did not respond to phone messages asking for her comments on Thursday.

Anyone who wants to adopt one of the dogs may call Houston Animal Control at 907-892-6870. Each animal will be spayed or neutered before it is released, Lords said.


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