Dozens and dozens of sick, dying and dead dogs were found as the result of a raid on a kennel and home near Lind, WA on Saturday. Sharon Provost had been selling puppies in the newspaper until a prospective customer reported serious neglect and abuse and now the 71 year old woman is under arrest and has been charged with first degree animal cruelty.
Deputies found 15 sick dogs living with the carcass of a dead dog that hang hanged itself at Provost’s kennel which led them to her house. The situation only got worse from there.
Initially expecting about 40 dogs, as the day progressed, a total of 111 dogs we removed, sick, filthy, starving from outdoor kennels. Two others were euthanized at the scene they were so sick. Four were found dead and most likely more will have to be euthanized because they are so sick.
Adams County does not have an animal control shelter, so deputies called Pet Rescue. Undersheriff John Hunt said about 30 volunteers were instrumental to the raid.
“We wouldn’t be here,” he said. “I don’t know what we’d do, to be honest. We’d be looking at other agencies throughout the state, because we don’t have any type of facility, or obviously, the manpower.”
“It’s appalling,” said Fuhrman. “This is the biggest that we’ve ever been involved with. We are so not prepared for coming into this. We thought, 40 dogs, and we’re already over 60, with a secondary location we still haven’t went to yet.”
“The dogs are really sick,” said Fuhrman. “There’s mange, there’s bleeding in the mouth. Their teeth are missing because they haven’t had good nutrition. There’s puppies where the mom’s too skinny to feed the puppies.”
And conditions were not any better inside Sharon Provost’s home.
“There’s not toilets that function in the home,” said Hunt, who has been working on the case for almost a week. “There’s dead carcases in the house from the dogs and a cat. They found four dead dog carcases and a cat carcass that had been there for a long time, a lot of dog feces in the house.”
“Unsanitary conditions is our biggest problem we’re dealing with,” said Veterinarian Marvin Chamberlain called the property a “puppy mill.” “The other problem is, these dogs are completely unsocialized.”
“A lot of these dogs haven’t been touched by people, and they are pretty much wild dogs,” said Fuhrman. “They will make good pets eventually, they just need a lot of work.”
The rescued dogs are now being cared for, fed and getting vet attention. A total of five were euthanized Saturday. About thirty went to foster care and the rest are being cared for at Othello Pet Rescue.
As the criminal investigation continues, the focus here in on rehabbing the dogs back to health and finding homes for them.
The first step is socializing the animals so they can learn to trust humans. Children crowded into the kennel Sunday, where they were encouraged to hold and touch puppies.
Volunteers said they were unprepared for so many dogs. They were in the process of building the shelter when 111 dogs were discovered in a house and separate kennel near Lind.
“This is our only facility we have for county dogs,” said Pet Rescue volunteer Deena Vietzke. “We’ve worked really hard to get it up and running. It’s not ready to run, but we made it work yesterday.”
“We are worried about it, because we had the money earmarked to get the shelter up and running,” said Pet Rescue President Jessica Fuhrman. “But we are taking donations, and we’re hoping to get the dogs adopted out.”
The nonprofit organization’s only income is $6,000 a year from the City of Othello, but they’ve already cashed in that budget over the weekend. Next week will be even more expensive, when a vet will pay another visit to the dogs. They all need to be spayed and neutered, and most need vaccinations.
‘”It’ll get done,” said Vietzke. “Donations are huge. Right now, that’s all we live on.”
Generosity has already started pouring in. A Prosser woman saw the rescue on Action News and pledged more than $6,000. Thirty dogs are already in foster homes.
“We’ve only got eight runs, and we have 56 dogs out here, so it’s a full time job just to clean up after them and keep them fed,” said Fuhrman.
One volunteer made 60 gallons of rice to feed the animals. Many of the dogs can’t eat anything else because their teeth have rotted out.
All the dogs are sick, but the older ones are in worse shape, because they were apparently boarded into a filthy off-site kennel when they couldn’t breed anymore.
“There’s some dogs that are ten years old there, that are senior dogs, so we’re assuming she’s been breeding them since then,” said Fuhrman.
Many others are too weak to move. At least five dogs were euthanized Saturday, and volunteers expect more to be put down Monday.
“Most of these dogs are already within a few weeks of dying,” said Fuhrman. “Hopefully, all they need is just some TLC, and they’ll get back on their feet. But they do need to go to the vet, which is more bills.”
At this point, the dogs are being fostered, but not adopted, because Provost could still get them back if a judge rules in her favor.
The 71-year-old also has sheep, goats, llamas, cats and chickens on the property. Sheriff’s deputies say those animals had food and water, but a veterinarian said he saw at least one that needed medical attention.
If you are interested in donating money, volunteering or fostering a dog, call Pet Rescue at (509) 855-1402. (KEPRTV)