No animal cruelty charges yet after puppies found in bust

So far, there have been no charges of animal neglect or cruelty

Over a dozen puppies were found living in pools of their own waste in Oregon City, November 2, 2016. (CCSO)
Over a dozen puppies were found living in pools of their own waste in Oregon City, November 2, 2016. (CCSO)

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — More than a dozen dogs were found living in filthy conditions when Clackamas County deputies arrested four people in a drug bust on Wednesday.

But so far, there have been no charges of animal neglect or cruelty.

KOIN 6 News is getting answers on why that part of the case hasn’t moved forward.

Two of the men arrested during the drug bust were still in the Clackamas County Jail on Thursday afternoon. Another was scheduled for court.

When it comes to animal cruelty violations, the prosecutor has an extensive number of laws to choose from.

A total of 17 dogs and puppies were found living in squalor, standing water, mud and even what looked like a rat infested water source. The property they were found on is in unincorporated Oregon City.

And, even though to some, this might seem like a cut and dry case of some sort of animal cruelty or neglect, based on available video, Sharon Harmon, executive director of the Oregon Humane Society, says it still takes time to prove it.

“We are still gathering evidence. When that evidence is presented to the district attorney, they will make a determination. Sometimes it takes a while to make sure we have all the evidence necessary,” said Harmon.

She gave KOIN 6 News a laundry list of the requirements and offenses that might apply under Oregon law.

“Did they have areas that were free of feces and urine? Did they have access to potable water? Did they have access to shelter? Were they provided veterinary care if necessary? That’s what we are looking at with respect to this case,” said Harmon.

Harmon said the timing of charges depends on the case, but she confirmed they will be submitting their report to the sheriff within days or weeks, rather than months. From there, it will go to the district attorney.

“We are all motivated to see this case come before the prosecutor sooner than later because no one wants to see puppies grow up in a shelter,” Harmon said.

The animals cannot be adopted out because they are still considered property in the case.