VC Animal Control seizes dozens of animals from woman

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An El Cerro Mission woman is expected to be charged with 33 counts of animal cruelty following a search warrant that was served at the home last week.

Erik Tanner, director of Valencia County Animal Control, said the woman exceeded the allowed amount of dogs by 20 when officials served the warrant on Oct. 9.

Several dogs, loose and tied up, were jumping and lunging at animal control officers as they conducted their investigation at the home on Winston Drive. The owner, who is not being named because she has not yet been charged, was seen pointing and yelling as deputies stood with her outside the fenced-in property.

Animal shelter trucks moved from one end of the property to the other during an almost three-hour process where officials removed the animals.

Tanner said the animals were malnourished and dehydrated and he said some were "beyond thin," due to constant neglect.

He said animal control officers have had encounters with the woman in the past and tried to educate her "half a dozen" times, but he said the requests were ignored.

"We have dealt with the owner before," Tanner said. "We tried to help. I guess we'll have to do it this way."

Tanner said the woman needed to reduce the number of animals on her property and to make sure the animals received more food and water. He said the woman was permitted to have 12 dogs on her property, according to a county ordinance.

There were several types of dogs, including pit bulls, chihuahuas and healers. He said the woman claims her home was similar to a rescue center and that she was saving them.

"When you can't even take care of one, you have a problem," Tanner said.

Tanner said there were no dead animals on the property at the time when officials served the search warrant last week.

He said he didn't want to quantify the scene with others that he has seen in the past.

"It is bad," Tanner said. "There is something wrong with it."

Charges against the woman are expected to be filed in Los Lunas Magistrate Court this week.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.