PORTLAND -- The president of an animal rescue center in Marion County was arrested Sunday and authorities seized more than 150 dogs and cats that they said were neglected and malnourished, in some cases severely.
Investigators said they found 149 dogs and two cats in small kennels and crates inside a 7500-square-foot warehouse without food or clean water. They said some of the dogs were squeezed in groups into crates that were supposed to only be meant for one animal. The warehouse, located in Brooks, Oregon, is run by Willamette Valley Animal Rescue.
Photos: Animal neglect investigation
"Many of the dogs appeared to be extremely underweight and suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Others appeared sick and some had their eyes sealed shut with body fluids," said officer Don Thomson with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. "One dog had his head stick in the wire cage as he'd try to get out of the cage."
The animals were seized Sunday and veterinarians were still examining them on Monday.
"These condition of these animals is terrible. They are lacking the basic care needed to survive. I found no food available to them and the water in their cages was filled with stench. I saw one animal stuffed into a cage that was so small he was unable to lie down, sit or stand up. He had no food or water in the cage, and I'm not sure how long he'd been left in that condition," said veterinarian Dr. Kris Otteman with the Oregon Humane Society.
"Several kennels were stacked against a wall like cordwood. None contained water or food, but all were overcrowded with dogs," Thompson added. "One-hundred-and-twenty of the animals present met the legal standard for neglect. The remaining dogs still need some care." Some will have to be euthanized.
Willamette Valley Animal Rescue president Alicia Marie Inglish, 24, of Salem (pictured above, right) was arrested and charged with 120 counts of animal neglect and one count of tampering with evidence. Her bail was set at $300,000 and her first court appearance was Monday at 3 p.m. Police said other two more arrests were pending.
Willamette Valley Animal Rescue is located at 8955 Pueblo Avenue in Brooks. The company describes itself in publications as a volunteer organization whose goal it is to find homes for hard-to-place dogs.
Investigators said they were initially tipped off by past employees. The investigation that followed lasted for several months.