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Animal Hoarding Situation Being Investigated by Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office

Sunday, June 27th, 2021, landlord Sharla Vaughan-Hein was nearby a rental property she owns when she decided to stop in, soon recognizing that the tenant was not home.  Upon seeing the property, it became apparent that she had stumbled upon a severe situation where hundreds of chickens and other animals were being kept in deplorable conditions outside in the extreme heat with little to no water.  Vaughan-Hein phoned the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for support.

The Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant of the home based on the evidence of terrible conditions that could be seen from outside the residence.  The three female tenants of the home were said to be out of town for the weekend and did not return until Sunday evening, after authorities had already been called.  Inside the home, deputies found caged cats and chickens in horrendous condition.  There were also dogs, cats, and chickens running loose inside the home where animal feces and urine was everywhere.  Deputies also found ducks, guinea hens, parakeets and numerous other birds in the dwelling.

The Idaho Humane Society was called in to help as well as the Idaho Department of Agriculture, local fire department and paramedics to assist with sorting the animals and evaluating their health.  According to the Sheriff’s office, the animals were in an unhealthy situation and needed to be removed from the home immediately.  Authorities spent several days gathering the animals, just finishing up the removal this morning, June 30th.  Chief Deputy Cody Strong shared that they rescued almost all of the animals with two or three chickens left behind.  Due to the stress put on the birds and the extreme heat, Strong stated that they did not want to cause more harm to the last couple of birds they have not been able to catch.  Unfortunately, not all of the birds will make it.  Some are too sickly to be rehabilitated.  The owners will be responsible for the remaining couple of birds.

The Idaho Humane Society representative commented that they were able to rescue 247 chickens, 21 ducks, 8 parakeets, 1 robin, 1 starling, 15 cats, and 3 dogs.  Of the 247 chickens, 100 of them were indoors within a 900 square foot house.  All the others were outside in dirty kennels without food or water.  Most of the cats were inside the house in kennels.  Two wild birds were picked up by the Ruth Melichar Bird Center to be evaluated.  Idaho Humane Society social media representative commented that 50 chicks have been adopted already, with only a maximum of 10 going to each new home.  The rest of the animals are receiving veterinary care and will be available for adoption soon.  The Idaho Humane Society is accepting donations through their Facebook page for the cost of caring for these animals. 

Strong shared that the investigation is in progress and the tenants of the home could possibly face charges in the near future.  Due to the appalling conditions of the home where the three women have been living, a report has been filed with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare as well.  Tenants will also be facing eviction by the property owner.  Be sure to follow Living in the News .Com for further updates on potential pending charges.

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