Dogs rescued from puppy mill doing well

Nine volunteer organizations assisted Stevens County in the housing of the dogs rescued Sept. 11.
Meredith F. Carroll
Special to the Statesman-Examiner

Suspects arrested in connection to the Ford and Suncrest puppy mills are set to appear in court Oct. 23, 2018 to face animal cruelty charges.
Stevens County Sheriffs raided two puppy mills Sept. 11, seizing 255 dogs. Four suspects were arrested from two locations, according to officials: David Clark, 68, and Carolyn Clark, 75 from Ford; and Stephen Mark McDowell, 63, and Linley Staples, 61, of Nine Mile Falls.
Dogs from both locations were living in filthy conditions and were in varying states of health, court records show. One puppy was near death. Eighty-nine dogs and puppies were rescued from a 10x60 mobile home in Ford, and 166 dogs were rescued from the Suncrest location.
Charges of multiple counts of first-degree animal cruelty, second-degree animal cruelty, transporting or confining in an unsafe manner, and tampering with physical evidence have been filed against all four suspects, court records show.
“The dogs are now doing really well,” said Stevens County Deputy Jessica Garza, “All of the dogs have been released to adoption agencies.”
Deputy Garza was instrumental in establishing probable case in this case in order to obtain the search warrants that led to the rescue of the dogs and the arrests of the suspects. “I was not only the primary investigating officer,” Garza explained, “But I also continued to be hands-on with the shelter through the entire process. I was on call 24 hours a day for two days, processing evidence and seeing to the care of the animals.”
According to Garza, several non-profit animal protection agencies stepped up to assist Stevens County in the rescue, medical care, and housing of the dogs. American Humane, a national non-profit organization founded in 1877, and HEART of Spokane, a non-profit established in 2006, were contacted to facilitate the dog shelter at Colville’s fairgrounds. But many other agencies and individuals took part in nursing these dogs back to health and preparing them for adoption to caring homes.
“This whole operation was huge,” Garza said, “and I pulled resources from all over the nation. So many people had to step in. I can’t believe the scope.”
Alongside the national volunteer agencies were Individuals from Colville who came in to decontaminate and transport kennels. Garza said that without the help of each and every volunteer, this operation would not have been a success.
The organizations that assisted in the rescue effort were American Humane, HEART of Spokane, SCRAPS, Spokane Humane Society, Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary, The Furry Farm Rescue, Murci’s Mission, Path of Hope, Northeast Humane Society, Becky’s Best Buddies, and Colville Animal Sanctuary.
Donations were collected from hundreds of community members as well as from Haute Paws Grooming, The Yuppy Puppy, Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile, Colville Country Store, and the NEWA Fairgrounds, Safeway Chewelah, and Roseaurs Suncrest.
The veterinary clinics that provided medical care to the dogs were Colville Animal Hospital,
Echo Ridge Veterinary Hospital, Chewelah Veterinary Clinic, Hometown Animal Hospital (Deer Park), WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and Pet Emergency Clinic.