Calif. Shelter supplied hundreds of dogs to Oregon abuser

By Robert Paul Hudson

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In January of 2013, the Oregon pet community was rocked by the arrest of three board members, including the 24-year-old president of the organization, Alicia Marie Inglish   of the Willamette Valley Animal Rescue facility in Brooks, Oregon, near  Salem the state capitol. 149 dogs were found in an isolated warehouse in absolutely horrid conditions.

What has not been widely reported is where these dogs originated from.

Christian Kidd, 23, said he had volunteered at Willamette Valley Animal Rescue for about two months, buying wood shavings and dog food for the operators. He said the facility operators retrieved dogs from a pound in Porterville, Calif., where they would have been euthanized. According to Kidd they would drive to Porterville in a van and pick up 80 dogs at a time. Can you imagine fitting 80 dogs into a single van?

“We would pick up dogs sentenced to death and bring them back to rehabilitate them and try to find them loving homes,” said Kidd, who lives in the Salem area.

This “pound” is  Porterville Animal Control Shelter, run by the Porterville police department and the city.

Porterville City Manager John Lollis said in light of what happened, the city’s adoption process for these rescues “will be much more regulated.”

Sgt. Richard Standridge with the Porterville Police Department said the department has already put measures in place to prevent such cases of dog neglect.

I wonder if these new measures still allow a van to load up 80+ dogs presumably using small pet carriers for the long trip to Oregon.  But if that shocks you, how about driving the dogs all the way to Canada? Jennifer Alexander states ” I have a chihuahua from the Porterville Animal Shelter. He was brought to Canada by The Animals For Life Rescue in December 2012. He is the light of my life and I am so grateful they rescued him and brought him here! I am disgusted by this story but I pray that it doesn’t stop rescue groups like Animals for Life from bringing more dogs here.”

Does Canada have a shortage of dogs? Not according to this report.

“The bottom line is we’re trying to take these dogs to places where they don’t have to be euthanized,” said Dominic Barteau, spokesperson for the PPD, adding that what happened in Oregon was “an isolated incident.”

“What it really comes down to is there are some policies and procedures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We’re trying to take them to loving, caring homes where they can be taken care of,” Barteau said.

Here is a story from December, before the Oregon case broke with the Porterville Animal Control bragging about their efforts in shipping dogs to Canada and elsewhere: http://www.recorderonline.com/articles/dogs-55042-porterville-doggedness.html

On January 1, 2011, the Police Department hired Augie Gonzalez as the Animal Control Unit Supervisor who initiated the program of moving dogs to other shelters in the USA and Canada. The animal control shelter serves the Porterville/Lindsay/Woodlake area located in the San Joaquin Valley, (central southern California).

More about the Oregon case

Initial press release:

“A 24-year-old woman who runs a dog rescue group is accused of dozens of counts of animal neglect in what Oregon Humane Society officials described Monday as one of the biggest neglect cases in its history.

Marion County sheriff’s officials arrested Alicia M. Inglish, of Salem, late Sunday on 120 accusations of second-degree animal neglect, a class B misdemeanor, and tampering with evidence.”

The charges has since been lowered to  10 counts of first-degree animal neglect, 10 counts of second-degree animal neglect, and one count of attempting to tamper with physical evidence.

Two more people were also charged. This organization consisted of three board members including the President, with no employees. All are waiting trial. All three were under the age of 25.

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From left: Alicia Marie Inglish, Merissa Marie Noonan, and Amanda Noelle Oakley were all arrested on various charges, including animal neglect.

A summary of the facts as reported:

  • 149 dogs were seized from a warehouse that were housed in make shift cages attached to dog runs that were only ten feet long, small travel crates designed for one dog and contained as many as 4 or 5 dogs each, and these crates were stacked one on top of the other leaning to one side.
  • All the cages and crates contained sawdust for bedding soaked in urine and feces, dripping out of the stacked cages onto the floor of the warehouse
  • Some of the cages were not large enough for the dogs to stand up or turn around in
  • At least 120 of the dogs had visible signs of severe starvation and disease
  • Some dogs were running loose in the warehouse. The warehouse floor was drenched in urine and feces
  • The dogs were fed stale bread as their diet when dog food was not available
  • None of the dogs had access to food and water
  • Some bags of dry food and canned food was found on site, but not enough to feed more than a fraction of the dogs.
  • The organization used the Petsmart charity organization to adopt out the dogs.Soon after the news broke about Inglish’s arrest, PetSmart Charities terminated Willamette Animal Rescue as an adoptions provider. PetSmart Charities has adoption centers in every PetSmart store.“Our primary concern is clearly for those pets,” said Steve Pawlowksi, a spokesman for PetSmart Charities.
  • Willamette Animal Rescue hadn’t completed state registration requirements for nonprofits, prompting the Oregon Department of Justice to threaten legal action, the Statesman Journal reported. No action was ever taken.
  • Several people who adopted a dog from Willamette Animal Rescue attempted to return their dog because of health or temperament issues, but were refused a return, exchange, or refund.
  • Several people who saw the dogs for adoption at Petsmart were alarmed at their appearance and complained to the Oregon Humane Society months before an investigation was opened.
  • People who adopted dog were never granted access to where the dogs were housed.
  • The initial investigation was blocked when access to the facility was refused. Only when a former volunteer provided photos of the dogs was a warrant produced granting access.
  • Cathleen Schaff, who saw Inglish’s mug shot said she recognized her as the woman from whom she adopted an 8-week-old puppy in 2009. Inglish ran the Northwest Animal Rescue Alliance in Salem at the time, Schaff said.  I have tried to track down information about this rescue, and it appears it was run by Inglish from her home in 09 and she had many of the same complaints going back to 09, 08. You can read comments HERE The address for Northwest Animal rescue is a home that is currently up for sale. She apparently was running dogs up to Canada at that time.
  • Inglish’s only income was working at a pet feed store before she was let go months before this case broke. The store is right across the street from where I live.

The Fallout

Many people want to point fingers, and there is certainly many lessons to be learned here. The practice of trafficking dogs from city and county animal control shelters to unknown shelters, or any shelter for that matter needs to stop.  Oregon needs to have more stringent requirements to become an animal shelter with mandatory inspections to prevent glorified animal hoarders to become recognized shelters. This underground network of no-kill rescuers needs to be under public scrutiny. The Oregon Humane Society based in Portland is the only animal welfare group in the state with police powers. They are ill equipped to police the entire state. This needs to change. The good folks at Petsmart Charities who do a wonderful service might want to change how they register shelters to participate in their program.

I read many comments from bloggers who are quick to say this Oregon shelter was motivated by profit. I think that claim is ridiculous. There is no evidence to suggest any of the three defendants profited by this. In my opinion these people have the same mentality and sickness as any animal hoarders. They are obsessed with the idea of rescuing these animals while being completely blind to their suffering and abuse.  It is the act of “saving” the animals with no real compassion that motivates them. That motivation coupled with obsession is highly dangerous.  While that is difficult for many people to understand, it is not that uncommon throughout the animal advocacy movement.

All three of the defendants are facing several years in prison, but most likely will not see a day behind bars if convicted. They will get community service and probation. I just pray they do not serve their time at an animal shelter.

  • mts

    No comments!! On this horrific situation, that’s why it’s so scary if the T aren’t crossed and the I’s dotted before you send an animal any where… Poor babies

  • onwingsofcare

    You reference an article about a Dec 8 transport from Porterville to Oregon: http://www.recorderonline.com/articles/dogs-55042-porterville-doggedness.html .

    We would appreciate it very much if you would straighten out some points for the record about what really happened regarding those transports:

    We are On Wings Of Care, a California 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization for over three years (see some of our work at our website, OnWingsOfCare.org). The mass air transport of animals from Porterville to Oregon was planned for months in advance by Yehuda Netanel of Van Nuys, CA — his rather young organization “Wings of Rescue” has been coordinating large numbers of mass animal transports by air out of central CA to OR, WA, and Canada. We do not work with them at all. Some rescue groups with whom we have worked have been unhappy with him, and we have therefore chosen not to be involved with their efforts.

    On Thursday, Dec 6, 2012, we were flying back to CA from Texas, having made a round-trip transport of several special-case rescue dogs in both directions. (Their stories are all documented on our website.) At our last fuel stop, in Lordsburg, NM, we received a frantic phone call from a volunteer for the Porterville shelter. They told us that Yehuda had “bailed” on them at the last minute by telling them that they would have to ground transport all of their animals to San Jose the next day or Saturday, because he could not find planes to pick them up in Porterville. There were supposedly around 70 dogs. Porterville thought they could find vans to transport at most about 20 animals, with such late notice before a weekend. They asked if we could possibly fly to Porterville sometime in the coming days and transport some of their small dogs to rescues in Oregon.

    This was a volunteer we know well and trust. So we agreed to bring our twin-engine Cessna to Porterville on Saturday Dec 8, with its customized carriers for small dogs, and we said that we might be able to carry as many as 40 small dogs. As it turned out, we were able to fit 43 small dogs (some of them very small) with us. Yehuda flew his plane to Porterville and arrived an hour or two after we did, and he flew some of the remaining dogs to San Jose, where more dogs were placed in a large private jet bound for its home base in Hillsboro, OR (the same airport to which we were asked to take the dogs in our plane). To our surprise, Yehuda himself never even flew to OR that day.
    Our transport went well, we arrived at Hillsboro about 3.5 hours after we left Porterville, and we hand-delivered each and every dog to a rescuer, who placed each one in its own new, clean carrier (because our customized carriers stay with us). Each dog had a collar, a colored ribbon to mark which receiving rescue he or she was to go to, and all went very smoothly. There were about a dozen rescuers there to meet us and receive the dogs. We watched them load the dogs into their large vans and SUVs, and we were satisfied that all were now in good hands. None of the people who met us to receive the dogs matched the descriptions of the young girls associated with Willamette Valley Animal Rescue; in fact, most of them were our age or older — 40s through 60s.

    We know nothing about another rescue mentioned in your article called “Under my Wings.” We have never worked with them. This entire transport was supposedly planned by Yehuda Netanel and his group called “Wings of Rescue.” We were quite surprised when his group received lots of media attention for this mass rescue transport to Oregon and not a single mention was made of our having been the ones who made the actual flight and transport 43 of the dogs!

    Please correct the record, for all innocent and hard-working parties who deserve recognition and thanks for their work helping these animals from Porterville, and do not tarnish their generosity and carefulness by letting them be wrongfully associated with what was others’ errors.

    Many thanks,
    Bonny (President & Founder of On Wings Of Care)
    Email: Info@OnWingsOfCare.org

    • admin

      Bonny,

      Thank you for your reply and insight. I do not believe your organization is named in this article, nor is the specific date of December 8. We reported that a volunteer worker of the raided Oregon rescue stated that he and others from the rescue drove from Oregon to Porterville California to pick up dogs 80 at a time. No specific date was mentioned.

      The link you are referring to was provided for our readers to see that Porterville is indeed shipping or releasing dogs to shelters from Oregon to as far north as Canada, not to show any direct correlation to the Oregon abuse case.

      We do not call into question the motives or dedication of any of the parties involved in moving dogs from one shelter to another, but do question the benefits and implications of the practice itself. These concerns are shared by a Canadian blogger: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/l-a-shelter-dogs-transported-to-canada-rescue-or-ruse

      • admin

        It is also clear that there are bad people out there operating shelters who are receiving animals from other shelter. In 2012 there was the shocking case in Texas of a very well known and respected pit bull advocate who boarded dogs and operated a large rescue. Authorities found hundreds of dead dogs in an open pit. I understand your organization flew dogs to them as well. Certainly your actions in that case were with the purist intentions. They fooled you along with everyone else, but it is yet another example of a system that is broken. I cannot be the only person who is connecting the dots here.

  • Nettie

    They don’t have a brain between them. Maybe they should see what it’s like to go without eating

  • mollymoose

    Whatever reason these women had for this horrendous treatment of these poor animals….their punishment should equal that of their victims. Maybe cages that they cannot stand up in, or turn around in, an occasional feeding, and of course, being forced to walk around in their own excrement would make them realize what they have done. I thought the article was well written until the veiled attempt at forgiveness based on possibly having a ‘hoarder disorder’? Come on….all three of them? I don’t buy it. These women were completely responsible for their own actions, and should be punished as such. And I’m horrified at the lack of “law” and enforcement in the state of Oregon. They have a lot to do in the way of regulatory and statute development. Get on it!

    • admin

      Forgiveness was certainly not my intention at all! I completely agree that they should be held accountable for their own actions with no excuses, but I do think their way of thinking that would give them a blind eye to their own horrid abuse is based on obsession rather than sadistic intent. That is the basis of any hoarding behavior. I think many finatics are blinded by their own obsession. Even in the pet advocacy movement. This is not an isolated case. I can show you three other major cases of pet shelter abuse on a grand scale perpetuated by people who considered themselves pet advocates.

  • megalder

    As a volunteer, foster, networker of animals in shelters all over the Los Angeles area (as well as other areas of CA) I find this article to be insulting. Grouping rescuers into the category of “these people” is a completely ignorant statement. I also find it quite dissappointing that as a journalist who sounds like someone who wants to promote the health and welfare of animals, that you fail to specify that Los Angeles alone is putting down an average of 3-4 THOUSAND animals EVERY MONTH! It is not about whether there is a “shortage” in Canada, is it about the thousands of innocent animals dying, and if you think the neglect from this lady is bad, why not try investigating the neglect that goes on in the very shelters that claim to protect the animals? Carson shelter trasported a dog to Oregon without notifying the rescue here, that in the month since his entry pic at the shelter was taken he has went from a healthy 7 lb Chi, to 3 lbs when he arrived and so dehydrated he was nearly dead. His ENTIRE left lung was completely saturated (NO air flow) his right lung caught up quickly , I have spent the last year of my life as one of those “people” nursing this animal back to health due to the NEGLECT of Carson Shelter. You also failed to metion the recet abuse allegations at San Bernadino shelter where a VOLUNTEER (who takes hundreds of pics of dogs on death row and spends days uploading and networking them on FB) was banned from the shelter for making a Youtube video of a Pit that had been admitted to the shelter 5-6 days before but STILL had a nylon rope imbeeded in her neck and had received NO veterinary care, not even the courtesy of cutting out the embedded rope. Not to mention that shelters have the WORST adoption process, FAR less restrictive that private rescue groups (which do a home check, application, follow ups, help with behavioral or potty issues) the shelter does NOTHING but take the app and $ and let the dog go! However, rescues must pay a $75-150 fee to even get the dog out of the shelter, have a vet issue a health certificate for it to even travel across state lines (another $20) plus the spay/neuter (another $75), plus transport if they are leaving the state (which is there ONLY chance 80% of the time!!!). Yes, all kinds of transports take LARGE groups of dogs, all the dogs are provided their own crate (large eough to turn around, stand up in!), this usually costs $50 for a small dog, it is based on the size of the carrier.
    This article makes me fear thousands more dogs will die from your article, which labels and stereotypes all rescuers! Why don’t you write an article addressing the THOUSANDS of men and women who volunteer tirelessly day in and day out, pay thousands in vet bills, spend their weekends doing home checks and adoption events, network on fb to get a dog rescued, pledge $ to go towards an animals vet care (which it also does’t metion in the article)…it would be interesting to know what she did with all the money. That the shelters act so disgusted when I see dogs pulled out of them EVERY DAY with kenel cough, Pneumonia from untreated kenel cough, parvo, emaciation (especially the littles), oh or how about the dogs that shelters have lost? Or the dogs that get euthanized when rescue is on the way because (woopsie we got the serial #s mixed up, sorry bout that) and yes that happens quite often!!!! Please do your research next time and write an article that actually educates people about the enormous problem, not just in CA, but in many states. I can show you 100’s of cases of neglect from these VERY shelters that are supposedly there to protect these dogs. It is a killing spree….. sickening.
    Next time; try interviewing some of the thousands of networkers on FB who are in that area, why don’t you talk to them about how private rescues work? The majority of them are well run, and do far MORE to ensure the dogs safety and well being in a new home, dogs do not even leave adoption events until a home check is done!!
    Furthermore I find it interestinng that she was a member of the PetSmart charity/adoption. Did you research their requirements? I find it interesting no statement was given as to why PetSmart didn’t report them or just didn’t inspect their facility, a facility check is REQUIRED to participate in their program as well as proof of LEGAL non-profit status.
    This article is so devoid of solid research I find it sickening, yes I am sad for these dogs, but I see dogs sitting in shelters rotting with no veterinary care with these very same conditions (mange, emaciation, pneumonia, ETC) ! What an insult to all volunteers and private rescues, I hope to see a followup article where you correct your mis statements and slander. I hope more dogs are not euthanized due to your ignorant assumptions about how rescuing dogs from a shelter “actually” works.

    • admin

      megalder, thank you for your comments. I am not exactly clear on what parts of this article you object to. The facts as reported, or the opinion clearly expressed as “opinion”. The facts are that a city shelter in Porterville, CA released a large number of dogs over an undesignated period of time to a shelter in Oregon who severely abused them. That is a fact admitted to by the Porterville shelter officials. I then called into question the practice of “no kill” shelters who have more animals than they are able to take care of, dumping their animals to any other shelter who is willing to take them-unchecked. Certainly Porterville would not knowingly give animals to a shelter if they knew something was amiss…right? If it happened once, it could certainly happen again and probably has. So how can we fix this? How would you fix this to keep it from happening again?

      Most credible shelters that I know, when they become full to capacity simply stop taking in new animals. City run shelters however are required by law to never turn away an animal whether they are full to capacity or not. So the shelter then has a choice to either euthanize or move them to another shelter.

      Did you read the other post written by someone in Canada who is facing this problem? http://petradioshow.com/?p=543 If I offended you, I am curious how you feel about this article where the author asks this question: “So, if shelters and “no kill” groups are merely transporting or re-transporting unadopted or unadoptable animals to another facility in another state or country, is this really “RESCUE?”
      Or has it become a shell game to avoid being the one that may ultimately have to euthanize the animals that break down under the stress of long-term confinement and/or repeated relocation?”

      Here in Oregon, the 200 dogs that were rescued from the hoarder/rescue by the Oregon Humane Society were then split up between three Oregon rescues that agreed to take them and make special accommodation to house them. They certainly were not shipped out to rescues out of state or into Canada.

      I find this practice disturbing and I think it warrants all of us to take a closer look at it. That is my opinion and certainly should not cast any sort of cloud on shelters or the dedicated people who work for the welfare of pets.

      Let me also add that providing foster care and shelters that have a network of foster homes is part of the ANSWER to this problem. Your work is highly commendable. Giving 80 dogs to someone who knocks on your door with a truck is not. Now I know it is really not that simple, but it makes my point.

  • Susan Brugato

    I run a foster based senior and medical dog rescue in Oregon. Some of this article I agree with, but many points I do not agree with. Some of us follow the rules and laws and some don’t. Hoarding is a mental illness and is NOT part of every rescue! Hoarders do not adopt out animals. They keep them. Yes, Inglish was motivated by money. Many of us in Oregon knew about her and reported our concerns. She’s a criminal and slippery. I warn .CA networkers about other bad rescues, but no one listens. Networkers are at fault as well for cheering whenever a dog is rescued but NOT following up on what happens to that dog down the road. Good rescues are transparent. It’s as simple as asking questions and researching websites, Facebook pages and Instagram pages. People need to engage critical thinking skills to avoid these kind of disasters in the future.

    • admin

      There are several types of hoarding, and rescues and shelters definetely do have a problem with hoarding. This is not opinion but a fact that has been recognized by experts