By Robert Barron
A reported “animal rescue” site near Avard was raided Saturday by the Oklahoma Humane Society and Woods County Sheriff’s Department.
About 60 dogs were being kept in four 6 feet by 16 feet open stock trailers at a so-called animal rescue farm near Avard. The owner, Liddy Miller, was arrested on a felony count of animal cruelty and probably will face additional charges later in the week, said Woods County Deputy Sheriff Steve Ward.
When authorities arrived they found two puppies dead and another died enroute to the veterinarian, said Vickie Fox of the Enid Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Another woman who identified herself as a co-owner of the rescue arrived as the dogs were being taken away by authorities and also will have charges filed against her, Ward said.
Cynthia Armstrong, of the United States Humane Society in Oklahoma City said she has received reports on Waggin Tails Rescue, which has been under investigation for nearly a year.
The group received complaints based on poor health of the dogs and the animal’s living conditions.
“Not only does she pose as a rescue, but she is breeding animals that are ill and many puppies sent around the U.S. are very ill. Several people who have received them have called the U.S. Humane Society for assistance on the investigation,” Armstrong said.
The remaining 57 animals were taken to triage facilities in Enid and distributed to five shelters across the state that volunteered to keep the dogs throughout the trial.
The humane society is stressing the felony charges be pursued.
“All of the animals had lice. I’ve never seen a dog with lice,” said Vickie Fox, president of the Enid SPCA. “It probably has something to do with the conditions they were kept in.”
‘We’ve been receiving complaints about Waggin Tails since January, complaints based on the poor health and conditions of the dogs,” Armstrong said.
Some of the complaints came from Enid SPCA.
“Recently we had another situation where we were informed she was keeping animals in livestock trailers in filthy and overcrowded conditions and in freezing weather,” she said.
Armstrong contacted the Woods County Sheriff’s Depart-ment and Ward went to the facility to examine it, found it in violation and filed a report.
Deputy Justin McOscar served the warrant and remained while the animals were being taken away.
“We will press for a felony. She has done it for several years, she advertises over the Internet,” Armstrong said.
Fox said many of the animals were thin and the majority were dehydrated. Some were in poor condition and some in fair condition. The worst ones were kept at Enid SPCA.
“Two of the puppies were already dead and one of them had been cannibalized by the other dogs,” she said.
The dogs were kept in the open stock trailers, which were partially covered, but were open to the rain and snow that fell Saturday.
“I saw some food in bowls, but I didn’t see any water,” Fox said.
About 57 dogs were removed from the Waggin Tails facility.
Armstrong praised the Woods County Sheriff’s Department for their prompt action.
“It was a very urgent situation and they acted immediately in the best interests of the dogs,” Armstrong said.
Other animal shelters around the state participated in the rescue, including shelters at Ard-more and Edmond, Homeward Bound Humane Society in Dur-ant, and Washington County SPCA in Bartlesville, along with Enid SPCA.
Miller was arrested and released on bond.
Ward said Miller was in Avard previously and left due to what he called “public sentiment.” She then moved to Waynoka where she eventually faced municipal charges for failure to care for animals, and recently returned to Avard.
“That was two weeks ago. It didn’t take them long to call us back,” he said.
Fox said the dogs were emaciated, living in the stock trailers with straw in the bottom.
“We couldn’t wait to get home and take a bath,” she said.
An attempt to telephone Miller Sunday was unsuccessful.
By Robert Barron
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