ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Sterling woman has been charged with nine criminal counts of animal cruelty for keeping dozens of underfed, filthy dogs
Alaska State Troopers found 66 dogs under Caroline Boughton's care in a Sterling yard last November.
According to court documents some of the dogs were found dead, others needed prompt medical care and still others were so sick they had to be euthanized. Troopers seized the dogs.
Boughton, is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 29 in Kenai.
Animal welfare activists who treated Boughton's dogs and placed them in new homes say there is easily enough videotape and documentation to support those charges.
''It's pretty cut and dried. We have records on each and every animal on the property that was taken in,'' said Diane Zarfoss, clinic director of the Alaska Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Boughton was reportedly living in Nikiski and commuting to the site to feed and to provide water for the dogs. Most were bouvier des Flandres and kerry blue terriers. A couple of bouvier carcasses were found tangled in tethers, and two terriers stored in wooden boxes had died and were partially eaten by another dog.
The rest were in varying states of health, but all suffered from malnutrition, Zarfoss said. Many were treated for eczema, skin mites and infections of the ears and eyes.
Dogs that were strong enough to recover have all been placed. The last -- a bouncy, 100-pound malamute mix -- was scheduled to arrive at its new home today, she said.
Boughton was the subject of troopers investigations for a year before she agreed to give up her dogs. In fall 2000, she was criticized for keeping the animals tied to wrecked cars in a Sterling junkyard before moving them across the Sterling Highway to another location.
Troopers were called once more, this time during a cold snap last November that drove temperatures down to 20 below zero.
A troopers report said officers wanted to look inside a large bus that Boughton had converted into an animal carrier. She said she forgot the key. They cut a lock off the door and were forced back by the ammonia-like stench of urine until the vehicle was ventilated, the report said.
Sixteen dogs were kept inside wooden boxes in the bus without food, water or dry bedding. They were covered in frozen urine and feces.
A few days after the inspection, an Alaska SPCA volunteer who had worked with Boughton over the months persuaded her to turn over her animals voluntarily.
The resulting rescue cost the Alaska SPCA about $30,000, Zarfoss said. The group wants to see Boughton convicted, punished and made an example, she said. Alaska SPCA gets 10 to 12 calls a year about large-scale problems but cannot handle them all.
''She's proved over the last 10 years or plus that she is not a responsible animal owner,'' Zarfoss said.
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