Yesterday, the Mountain Home Police Department executed a search warrant at 77 N.W. Jerome Street, Mountain Home in an investigation of alleged animal neglect. Upon discovering large numbers of dogs being kept in unsanitary conditions, the Idaho Humane Society was contacted to assist in the case.
Kathleen [Pamela] Schweikert, 60, of Mountain Home was arrested for 58 counts of animal cruelty. She was also cited for 48 counts of unlicensed dogs, operating without a commercial kennel license and exceeding the limits on number of animals set by city ordinance. — City of Mountain Home
Due to concern over potentially toxic levels of ammonia from urine and waste present in the home, Mountain Home firefighters donned hazmat gear and wore oxygen masks until the home could be aired out enough that rescue workers from the Idaho Humane Society and Mountain Home Animal Shelter could begin removing animals. 55 dogs and 3 cats were removed from an approximate 700 sq ft. home. The interior of the residence was littered with debris and found to be heavily contaminated with feces and urine.
“The interior of this house was as deplorable as anything I’ve seen in the past 19 years of being involved in these kind of neglect and cruelty situations,” relayed Dr. Jeff Rosenthal, DVM, a veterinarian and CEO of the Idaho Humane Society.
Idaho Code Title 25, Chapter 35 defines animal cruelty as to negligently confine an animal in unsanitary conditions or to negligently house an animal in inadequate facilities; to negligently fail to provide sustenance, water or shelter to an animal. The statute provides that any custodian that keeps animals without proper care and attention as determined by an Idaho licensed veterinarian or representative of the Department of Agriculture is guilty of a misdemeanor. The statute requires law enforcement officers to take possession of animals found to be neglected and to provide care for them until the disposition of the neglect or cruelty case.
All the animals have been relocated to the Idaho Humane Society in Boise where veterinarians are evaluating their condition and providing any necessary medical care. It is anticipated that the animals seized will remain at the Idaho Humane Society in protective custody until their disposition is determined by the judicial system. This process typically takes weeks to months to complete.
The Idaho Humane Society encourages citizens to report suspected animal cruelty, neglect, or animal fighting, from anywhere in Idaho. The animal cruelty hotline is 208-343-3166. Donations can be made to support the Idaho Humane Society’s efforts online or on Facebook.
Photos released from the City of Mountain Home