By Les Zaitz
The fate of Yorkies, Scottish terriers and other dogs housed in a Malheur County shelter may be decided in an Idaho courtroom next week.
Ani-Care Animal Shelter has been tending to 43 dogs rescued Aug. 4 by police from a home in Weiser, Idaho.
Officials in Washington County in Idaho are asking a magistrate to forfeit the dogs to the sheriff. Such a forfeiture could set the stage for adoptions of the dogs in a rescue case that has drawn national attention. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 22, in Washington County District Court in Weiser.
That’s also the date that the dogs’ owner, Kimberly L. Anderson of Weiser, will appear to face 37 counts of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor.
Meantime, volunteers have been helping make life better for the rescued dogs. Most are housed in a temporary kennel inside a former industrial building at Ani-Care, situated south of Ontario on Oregon Highway 201.
“My trust in human nature is better today,” said Kim Hanson, one of the Ani-Care directors.
She said the shelter has seen a steady stream of helpers show up to keep the dogs company, clean and bath them, and help clean the shelter. Late last week, a couple drove from Hailey, Idaho, to help.
“Everything seems to be doing well,” Hanson said. The four litters of puppies are “doing fine. The moms are doing a really good job.”
Sheriff’s deputies found the dogs during a check at the Anderson home on Friday, Aug. 4. The dogs were seized and one gave birth, increasing the total dog count to 43. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is paying $15 per day per dog for that care, but Hanson said the shelter still needs volunteers, dog supplies and contributions to support veterinary care for the dogs.
The dogs, mostly Yorkies, lived in squalid conditions at the home on Winslow Road, according to an affidavit filed in court by Sheriff’s Deputy Brady Johnston.
“The floors were saturated with animal feces and urine,” Johnston wrote. “There was animal feces in the living room, dining room, kitchen and all bedrooms. There was also animal feces located on the furniture and beds.”
Police found a padlocked bedroom that housed 12 adult dogs, the affidavit said. Three litters of puppies were being kept in boxes in the room, it said.
A veterinarian who accompanied police said conditions were unsanitary and unsafe for the dogs. Martha Eaton of Cat N Dog Wellness Clinic “expressed concerns of inbreeding, incest and the spread of diseases,” according to the affidavit.
Johnston said a humane law enforcement officer in California reported that “she had been part of or knew about many animal seizure cases involving Kim Anderson.” His affidavit said he received reports of incidents in Fresno County, California, about incidents between 2007 and 2014 involving neglect, cruelty and animal neglect. Johnston’s affidavit didn’t detail what happened in those cases.