LINCOLN -- A Lincoln woman faces eight counts of felony animal cruelty charges and 62 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges after the Washington County Sheriff's Office seized more than 65 dogs from her property.
Debbie Cain, 62, was taken into custody Wednesday as the Sheriff's Office, assisted by other area agencies, rescued 67 dogs, eight goats, one pony and one rabbit from Cain's residence at 120 S. Arkansas 45, just past the U.S. 62 intersection going toward Cane Hill.
Law enforcement officers, animal control officers and representatives with Animal League of Washington County worked in 90-degree weather to photograph, tag with collars and log in the animals. The dogs were placed into vehicles to be taken to various veterinarian offices for checkups and treatment.
Cpl. Lori Hodges, who is supervisor of the county's animal control, said the Sheriff's Office received complaints about the property and she did a conditions check on Monday. Hodges said the animals were living in "very poor conditions" and the office decided to act.
A warrant was issued Wednesday to seize the animals. Other agencies that helped included four officers from Prairie Grove Police Department, Lincoln's animal control officer and Farmington's animal control officer.
"This is a multi-agency thing going on," Hodges said. "We reached out to everyone."
Carmen Nelson, director of Animal League of Washington County, said the league has been involved with the ongoing case.
Most of the dogs were Miniature Pinschers and Yorkies. Some were in cages inside the house and others were in cages in a kennel behind the house. One officer said dogs were all over the property, including some dead animals.
The dog were living in their own feces and urine and many will need vet care, Nelson said. She said she saw dogs with skin diseases, cataracts and fur that was matted because the dogs had not been groomed or brushed. Some of the females were in poor health because they had been bred over and over.
The house was "pretty much unbreathable," Nelson said.
Another officer said the inside of the house was "ungodly."
Hodges said the Sheriff's Office asked Cain to voluntarily relinquish her animals to the county but she refused. Until Cain releases the animals, they will have to be held as evidence. Hodges said she is working with different vet offices to house the animals during the judicial process.
Cain is also the defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the city of Lincoln and Washington County because she had not complied with numerous orders and violations to clean up the outside of her property.
Washington County Judge Doug Martin in early May ordered Cain to clean up her property in 30 days or the city and county would be allowed to come in and clean it up for her.
Since that court order, Cain has improved her property, and Lincoln City Council at its May 15 meeting voted to extend Cain's clean-up deadline several weeks, contingent on the work showing visible signs of progress.
NW News on 06/15/2018
Print Headline: Lincoln woman faces animal cruelty charges