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Thursday, Mar 15, 2012County: McClain
Alleged: Toni Lynn Chester
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
The McClain County Sheriff's Office got a tip Thursday about a possible puppy mill in Dibble. When they checked on things they were extremely upset with what they found. More than 30 dogs were locked in a pen and a small barn with no food or water.
Deputies ended up removing the windows and adding chicken wire to the barn for ventilation until they could get a warrant to save the dogs.
Friday morning the rescue operation went into effect.
Christy Counts with the Central Oklahoma Humane Society says, "We just got called to assist in this situation where these dogs, these puppies, have just been living in deplorable conditions. It's pretty shocking. That's a lot of dogs living in that shed. They were starving when people got on sight. Very hungry. A lot of puppies were really scared. This was just a bad state of affairs."
McClain County Lieutenant James Harryman says, "It makes you sick to your stomach to think that somebody would do this to some puppies or animals that don't have a chance to protect themselves."
Investigators believe the owner of these dogs moved her breeding operation to Dibble after she got in trouble for the same thing in another county.
They believe she's been posting pictures of the puppies and selling them online.
Investigators say the poor pups were left alone for a month and a half.
Witnesses say the owner only visited on weekends to feed them.
She allegedly left them locked up the rest of the time inside the barn which was covered in feces.
She will likely face a charge for running a puppy mill as well as a charge of animal cruelty for each dog found on the property but so far charges have not been filed.
Counts says, "It's really unfortunate it's gotten to this mess but we're really excited the dogs are going to be happy and in warm places tonight."
The puppies and their parents are now evidence in the case.
The Central Oklahoma Humane Society will be caring for them.
Counts says they are not available for adoption.
That may change in the future as the case unfolds.
Detectives believe they know who's responsible for the animal abuse. The Sheriff's Department says they plan to file charges.
|Felony animal cruelty charges could be filed on two individuals allegedly involved in an animal hoarder operation.|
McClain County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chris Grace discovered the operation about three miles southeast of Dibble.
A private citizen reported hearing dogs barking all the time and never seeing anyone on the property.
Approximately 32 dogs, including male and female adults, along with puppies were discovered in a 10-by-8 foot building.
"The windows were boarded with no ventilation," Sheriff Don Hewett said. "There was no food or water inside for the animals.
"The conditions were deplorable and inhumane."
The sheriff said this was not a puppy mill because there were not more than 10 breeding females.
The deputy knocked the boards off and placed some screening on the windows. He found the screening on the property.
He also placed food and water inside the feces and ammonia ridden building, the sheriff said.
On Friday, the deputies executed a seizure warrant to gain access to the property.
The sheriff said Dale Fullerton with the Oklahoma Veterinarian had visited the property and said the conditions were very bad.
Sheriff's officials also notified the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.
"They came Friday and set up tables resembling a triage," Hewett said.
"The medical condition of each dog was noted and the dogs were transferred to the humane society."
There were 29 dogs, including puppies, treated, Officials were unable to capture three dogs.
"Most every animal was infested with parasites and many were dehydrated, suffered respiratory problems and were malnourished."
A detective with the sheriff's office, Dana Guthrie, was able to locate the property owner and the individual who had the animals housed on the property.
The sheriff's office is presenting 29 counts of animal cruelty against Toni Lynn Chester, 48, of Purcell, and Richard Boyd, 59, of Midwest City. Boyd is the property owner.
Chester told Guthrie she was feeding the animals nightly and she was keeping them locked up out of harm's way.
"She has been run out of Lincoln County after an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) agent turned her in for running a puppy mill," Guthrie said.
"She left Lincoln County and moved to Noble. When Cleveland County officials were notified, she fled that area to Dibble."
The reports have been submitted to the McClain County District Attorney's Office.
Assistant District Attorney Josh McGoldrick said he would review the reports and make a decision on the charges.
"We want to make sure justice is served in this case," Hewett said.
"We are not going to tolerate this type of actions in McClain County."
|Source: purcellregister.com - Mar 22, 2012|
Update posted on Mar 22, 2012 - 8:12PM
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