Nearly 130 dogs removed from Charlo kennel - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana


Nearly 130 dogs removed from Charlo kennel

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11 dogs were originally seized from a Mission Valley dog breeding kennel in late July. (MTN News photo) 11 dogs were originally seized from a Mission Valley dog breeding kennel in late July. (MTN News photo)
Jill Valley is on the scene and we'll have an update on tonight's 5:30 and 10 o'clock news. (Jill Valley photo) Jill Valley is on the scene and we'll have an update on tonight's 5:30 and 10 o'clock news. (Jill Valley photo)
Jill Valley photo. Jill Valley photo.

More than 100 dogs are on their way to new homes after Lake County sheriff's deputies and animal rescue groups took them from a puppy mill in the Mission Valley. 

"This is the best day of my life. I got the call, I got a little nauseous and then I got to work," said Lynette Duford of Life Savers Animal Rescue.

It was a day Duford had waited for. Car after car pulled into the driveway of LDR Kennels north of Saint Ignatius Friday afternoon, bringing crates to take more than 100 dogs away.

Larry and Nadine Latzke lost ownership of the dogs in deal with Lake County prosecutors after the couple was charged with aggravated animal cruelty back in July.

The case began when a judge granted a search warrant for LDR kennels. Sheriff's deputies took 11 dogs away -- those with extremely matted fur, rotten teeth and or bad skin conditions..

Most had never touched the ground, living the lives in small, crowded wire cages. All but four of those dogs were returned to the Latzkes. But on Friday, they were all leaving.

"a long drawn out prosecution would have taken a considerable amount of time, so with the resources in mind, this was the quickest resolution to the matter," said Lake County Undersheriff Ben Woods.

The Sheriff's Office  says most of the dogs are chipped so that will be used as animal teams catalog them, identify their breed and get them vet care before the next step of adoption.

"They are very stressed right now; it's a stressful situation even though we are in there getting them out so we're trying to be conscious of that and go slow," Duford said.

The Latzke's are allowed to keep six personal dogs but must have them spayed and neutered. It's part of a 10 year agreement with prosecutors who will dismissed the charges against them if they comply.

The dogs are heading to four different locations -- in Polson, Missoula and Bigfork.

We will let you know more about the adoption process once that's figured out. Life Savers Animal Rescue says it could use donations to care for the more than 100 dogs. Click here to help out.

(8.26.16 / original story)

The Lake County Sheriff's Office and Life Savers Animal Rescue are removing approximately 130 dogs from LDR Kennels in Charlo.

Late Friday afternoon, the Lake County Attorney's Office reached a plea agreement with the owners of LDR Kennels to remove all dogs in exchange for not bringing the case to trial.

As we first reported in July, the Lake County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant and confiscated 11 dogs housed at the LDR Kennels on Dublin Gulch road in Charlo. Some of the animals had rotten teeth, skin diseases and fur matted with feces.

By state law, only animals determined by a veterinarian to be in physical distress could leave. After a vet checked the dogs, seven of them were returned to the Latzkes. The couple was charged with one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty.

At their initial court appearance on Aug. 11 in Lake County Justice Court, Judge Randal Owens accepted a restraining order against the couple, saying they are not allowed to sell or transfer the animals they own and must allow full property access to the LCSO during case proceedings. 

Additionally, the Latzkes are prohibited from owning any more than the six dogs they currently keep in their homes as pets. They are not permitted to breed those dogs and are required to spay or neuter them immediately. They are also forbidden from replacing any of the dogs when they die. 

The deferred prosecution agreement lasts for ten years. If Latzkes are found to have violated any conditions of the agreement the case may be re-filed. They are also ordered to "Provide their animals with a superior level of care."

The following information was released by the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The plea agreement reached is a deferred prosecution agreement that will last 10 years.  In addition to relinquishing the dogs, the Latzke’s are precluded from owning any more than the 6 dogs that they currently keep in their home as pets, are not allowed to breed them, and must immediately spay or neuter them.  If one of them dies during the term of the agreement, they are precluded from replacing the dog with another.  Should the Latzke’s violate this agreement, the felony case will be re-filed.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following organizations for their assistance and advice in this very large and challenging case:

  • Southshore Veterinary Clinic of Polson
  • The Mission Valley Animal Shelter
  • Lifesavers Animal Rescue
  • Humane Society of Western Montana
  • Humane Society of the United States

Life Savers Animal Rescue on Polson is looking for donations as they help care for the animals. Click here to lend a hand.

-- Information from Jill Valley and Melissa Rafferty

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