When Rick Kingsbury came home Saturday night, he had 20 or so strange dogs hanging out in his yard. He traced them to the home of a neighbor, and to what may be the biggest animal cruelty case in the history of El Valle.
Kingsbury, whose home is the headquarters of Pecos Valley Grassfed Beef in Villanueva, said he had heard barking from a neighbor’s house, and so he went over there to have a look.
He found the door of his neighbor’s home open, and inside he estimates as many as a hundred dogs. Some of the canines were dead, and some of those had been eaten by other dogs.
San Miguel County public works supervisor Harold Garcia, whose department handles animal control in the county, was on the scene Monday morning when he spoke with the Optic. Garcia said that the county had been at the site since Sunday, and that they were being assisted by the Santa Fe Humane Society, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Animal Protection of New Mexico and the state police.
Garcia said the owner had been living in the mobile home with more than 50 dogs, and that conditions were “a mess.”
“It’s pretty bad,” Garcia said. “There are feces roughly six inches thick inside the mobile home. The bathtub tap was left running, I guess for the dogs to drink water, and the tub overflowed, so there’s water inside the mobile home.”
Garcia said the owner had been taken to the hospital in Santa Fe in the last few days.
Garcia said some of the animals might have to be euthanized for medical reasons.
“You’ve got some inbreeding that’s been going on, so there’s some animals that are probably handicapped. We’ve got a lady on site who can euthanize them if she needs to,” Garcia said.
Garcia said that if anyone wanted to adopt a dog, they could probably do so through the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, but at present, the county is concentrating on getting the dogs off-site and the paperwork completed.
As for Rick Kingsbury, he’s been doing his piece to take care of the dogs, too.
“There’s still 15 or so dogs camped out on the front porch with me — little dogs, chihuahas, jack russell terriers and the like. I’m just waiting for them to come over and pick these guys up. I’ve got them all calmed down, and they’re happy to be safe and healthy,” he said.