Case Snapshot
Case ID: 14907
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull), horse
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Child or elder neglect
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Friday, Nov 21, 2008

County: Payette

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged:
» Crystal Whitehead
» Casey Armstrong

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

Officers seize more than three dozen animals from a Fruitland farm following an animal neglect investigation. Police say most of the animals were starving and living in "atrocious" conditions.

The Payette County Sheriff's Office began investigating the property after some horses got loose.

Officers served a search warrant on the home Friday morning and removed 18 dogs, 11 horses and 3 cats.

A three year old boy was also taken in the custody of Health and Welfare.

Police say the house was soaked with urine and filled with feces and mold. The stench was so bad, at least one officer had a hard time conducting the investigation.

"He actually had to step outside the house several times to keep from getting sick," said Payette County Sheriff Chad Huff.

Three horses and several of the dogs and cats were extremely emaciated and dehydrated.

Officers found the carcass of a dead cat in one of the rooms that was picked to the bone by other cats.

"Those cats had been living of the carcass for quite some time," said Dr. Jeff Rosenthal, Humane Society director.

The reported owners of the animals, Crystal Whitehead, 29, and Casey Armstrong, 23, will likely face a number of charges, including cruelty to animals, failure to obtain a kennel license, failure to license pit-bull, importing animals without a permit, and child endangerment.

Police say Whitehead has a long history of animal neglect in Eastern Idaho and Southern California.

8 of the horses seem to be in good shape and are being cared for in Gem County. The remaining 3 horses are receiving medical attention at the Humane Society ranch in Boise.

The cats and dogs are being cleaned up, fed and treated at the Humane Society, which has temporary custody over them.

Charges are likely to be filed sometime next week.
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Case Updates

One man claims he found a bag of dead dogs where accused animal abuse suspect Crystal Whitehead once lived. Now he's speaking out because he says he doesn't want it to happen again.

Dogs, cats and horses living in filthy conditions, left with little food and water. These are the accusations against 26-year-old Whitehead.
She said the accusations aren't true.

"They're attacking me and I feel harassed" said Whitehead.

But Jeremy Edwards says what authorities are claiming happened at her Fruitland home, he's seen before.

"How could people live in such filth?" said Edwards.

Before Whitehead moved to Fruitland Edwards said she lived in New Plymouth. Edwards was called to help clean that house out after Whitehead moved, but he said what he found outside shocked him.

"As we were cleaning up, we noticed a bag laying there, like a garbage bag, and it looked like there was blood in it, so we went over and we had noticed there was dead dogs inside this bag," he said.

Edwards says the animal feces found inside Whitehead's Fruitland home was nothing compared to what was found in New Plymouth.

"There was probably 100 piles of poop that were still there," said Edwards.

The Humane Society says research differs behind what drives people to own so many animals and not care for them.

"Animal hoarders will often move from community to community," said Dr. Jeff Rosenthal with the Idaho Humane Society.

But animal hoarding can be a symptom of several disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

While removing animals helps solve the problem temporarily Rosenthal says nearly 100 percent of hoarders will do it again. That's what Edwards wants stopped in this case.

"She should be charged for animal neglect and abuse if this is how she's going to take care of animals," he said.

The Payette County Sheriff's Office says there were no complaints or reports of alleged abuse given to authorities while Whitehead lived at the New Plymouth home.

Whitehead has not been charged with a crime right now. The prosecutor could make a decision on specific charges later this week.
Source: 2News.Tv - Nov 23, 2008
Update posted on Nov 24, 2008 - 8:34PM 

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