Lewis County Code Enforcement and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office seized 65 dogs from a residence in the 400 block of River Road, Chehalis, last Friday, October 19th. Of the dogs seized, 47 were adults, the rest were puppies. All but two of the dogs are fox hounds.
Lewis County Code Enforcement received a tip from a witness who was concerned with the conditions in which the animals were living. After the initial complaint was received code enforcement began an investigation which culminated on Friday. After they applied for and were granted a search warrant to investigate the facilities the dogs were living in. The search warrant was granted after the owner, Nancy Punches, 78, of Chehalis, refused to allow investigators entry in the building in which the dogs were housed.
Once inside the building and enclosures, investigators found the dogs living in filthy and unsanitary conditions. Investigators reported that the dogs were wading in feces and urine.
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Lewis County Animal Shelter did not have room for all of the dogs; therefore outside resources were called in to assist in the removal of the dogs. The City of Chehalis, Clark County Animal Control, and Pasado’s Safe Haven all assisted in transporting and housing of the dogs. Cascade West Veterinary Office responded and conducted an assessment on site which resulted in four puppies being taken directly to their facility for treatment.
Investigators found a dead puppy in a cage on the property and that puppy was taken by the veterinarian for a necropsy.
Punches admitted to investigators that her place “was out of control”. Based on the investigation it does not appear that Punches was breeding the dogs as a commercial business.
Investigators are awaiting a report from the veterinarian before determining what charges will be referred to the Lewis County Prosecutor's Office against Punches.