SALEM, Ore. - A Salem, Ore., woman who headed what was described as a rescue facility for hard-to-place dogs has been arraigned on 120 counts of animal neglect and one count of evidence tampering.
Authorities say 24-year-old Alicia Inglish was arrested Sunday as Marion County sheriff's officers and Humane Society investigators removed more than 140 dogs. Officers say many of the animals were housed in deplorable conditions, with little food, water fouled by garbage and cages designed for one animal containing as many as four.
The Salem Statesman Journal says Judge David Leith set Inglish's bail at $55,000 on Monday and said she's not permitted to have any contact with animals.
Her next court appearance is scheduled Jan. 22.
Photos: Animal neglect investigation
Authorities say what was supposed to be a rescue facility for hard-to-place dogs in Marion County turned out to be a warehouse where more than 140 were housed in deplorable conditions -- little food, water fouled by garbage and cages designed for one dog containing up to four.
The sheriff's office says most of the dogs seized late Sunday from the Willamette Valley Animal Rescue facility in Brooks were in poor condition: starving, sickly, some with eyes sealed shut by body fluids. They were living on concrete floors with no bedding, their cages contaminated with feces and urine.
The sheriff's office said in a statement that an investigation began after local authorities and the Oregon Humane Society got complaints that included allegations the dogs were often fed stale bread. Inglish was arrested Sunday.
The Humane Society has about 100 of the dogs at its northeast Portland shelter, spokesman David Lytle said. He said he didn't have immediate information about the condition of the rest of the animals, distributed to a variety of state and county facilities.
An all-night rescue and triage operation was one of the largest of its kind in Oregon's history, he said.
Lytle said the organization didn't have any information about what caused the mistreatment. But often in such investigations, he said, it turns out "they start out with good intentions and people just get overwhelmed."
A Salem man who volunteered at the facility for about two months told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/11v5vch) the leaders would travel to a shelter in Porterville, Calif., where dogs were likely to be euthanized, and return with 80 at a time, hoping to rehabilitate them and find homes for them.
The dogs were given both dry and wet dog food, said 23-year-old Christian Kidd. "They weren't all starving," he said.
Inglish "didn't want the dogs to die," he said. "That's all she cared about."
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