On Wednesday, November 13th Oregon Humane Society officials, and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office confiscated 110 dogs and 21 horses from 66 year old Catherine Setere at 25888 Karr road, a remote rural area of Rainier Oregon, in what is being described as a “puppy mill”.
It is unclear or unknown at this point how Ms. Setere has been selling her dogs: either by the internet or to retail stores. In order to sell to retail stores, a commercial license from the USDA must be attained, and a recently passed federal law now requires internet sellers to be licensed as well.
In late October a local citizen made a complaint against Setere with the Columbia County Humane Society. Once the scope of the breeding facility was realized, the local Humane Society called in OHS who is better equipped to handle it.
What investigators found was 35 Akita breed dogs, numerous litters of puppies including newborns, and a large assortment of small breed dogs of all ages in what was described as horrid conditions with small cages caked with feces and urine. Some dogs roamed free in small buildings on the property with floors covered in animal waste and none of the dogs had drinking water. Some of the dogs appeared emaciated, while other were covered in mud, feces, and matted coats.
A spokesperson for the Oregon Humane Society explained, “The biggest concern was the unsanitary conditions they were living in. There were huge amounts of feces and urine and dogs in conditions that no pet should ever have to live in.”
The biggest challenge for the OHS was how to house this many animals. 21 horses, several of which were critically emaciated, were given to Sound Equine Options of Gresham, Oregon to be cared for while the investigation continues. The use of a 40,000-square-foot warehouse was provided to OHS rent free by a supporter and OHS spent over 50,000 dollars to build kennels in the warehouse within two days prior to the raid.
Setere could face multiple counts of animal neglect, each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine, and could also be in violation of the Oregon Puppy Mill Act, which prohibits breeders from having more than 50 breeding dogs at one facility and which also mandates minimal care standards.
“We undertook today’s rescue operation to stop the suffering of these animals,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. “The dogs at this breeding facility were living in shocking conditions.”
By chance, Pet Radio already had an interview scheduled with Sharon Harmon, Executive Director of OHS Thursday, November 14th. We discussed this case to some extent, however Ms. Harmon declined to go into detail because the investigation is still ongoing. The dogs and horses will not be adopted out until it is determined if criminal charges will be pursued. Our interview airs November 17 and during the hour we discuss many of the OHS programs and services.