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Nearly 200 animals seized, Las Vegas couple charged for animal cruelty

Dogs, hamsters and other animals were being hoarded by a couple who were arrested in Las Vegas amid a multiple-agency investigation.
Nearly 200 animals seized, Las Vegas couple charged for animal cruelty
Posted at 12:15 PM, Apr 04, 2024

A Las Vegas couple has been arrested for hoarding nearly 200 animals. The animals were found in different locations on opposite ends of the Las Vegas valley, and now multiple agencies are investigating.

Boulder City Police were able to track down 72-year-old Carolyn Luke and 79-year-old Timothy Miller on Friday, March 29 after receiving a tip.

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After seeing their car had a broken taillight, officers stopped the couple around 5 p.m. When the couple rolled down their window, officers could smell dead animals in the car.

"Our officers knew right away that something was wrong," said Lt. Thomas Healing of the Boulder City Police Department.

Police and animal control officers searched the car and found a total of 51 guinea pigs and rabbits inside a variety of plastic totes and luggage. Eleven guinea pigs were originally found dead and four additional guinea pigs have since died.

"Who carries so many guinea pigs in their vehicle? Thank you, Boulder City Police," said Gina Greisen, founder of Nevada Voters for Animals. Greisen contacted police after learning about the couple and their hoarding habits.

Megan Callahan, who met Carolyn Luke through an animal rescue group, worked with Greisen to tip authorities off. She said she felt "angry, upset, disgusted that somebody could treat animals that bad."

Boulder City Police and animal control took the animals from that initial scene. Shortly after, Luke told police there were more animals stored away at her home in Spring Valley and inside of a hotel room in Summerlin.

Las Vegas Metro Police obtained search warrants and found 30 dogs, 10 of them dead, inside the hotel room. Channel 13 was there as they worked to rescue the animals from that location one by one.

The search warrant on their house found 15 dogs and more guinea pigs.

"It was like she knew. She knew what she was doing. The different locations where she had everything, different jurisdictions," Callahan said.

Because the case involves so many cities, several police departments and animal shelters are working together to make sure all the animals receive the care they need.

"She needs help. She has something wrong with her. I just hope everyone can see who this person is and nobody ever sells her animals again," Callahan said.

The couple face 11 counts each of torturing, injuring, abandoning, or starving an animal.

Because it is their first offense, they are charged with misdemeanors. Additional cases in Las Vegas could include felony charges.

Some hamsters, tortoises, and birds were also taken from the various locations, it was learned. 

Boulder City Animal Control and the Animal Foundation have taken in the majority of the animals.

This story was originally published by Alyssa Bethencourt at Scripps News Las Vegas

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