Police raided a property in Selma last week, where they found an illegal marijuana grow and numerous neglected animals. [Photo courtesy Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.
Dozens of animals found abandoned without food or water last week are recovering in the care of Josephine County Animal Shelter, and the county District Attorney’s office has filed charges against the perpetrators.
“Everybody has been doing really well,” said Laura Jansen, Josephine County Animal Shelter supervisor.
Sometimes in malnourished and neglected animals, there are serious complications, she explained, and two or three of the 29 animals surrounded to the shelter’s care she classified as seriously malnourished.
“But everyone’s packing on weight very nicely; we’re really happy with the progress,” she said.
The community has had its heart on its sleeve for these animals, she said.
“The silver lining in this tragedy has been seeing the community come together,” she said, “We’ve had so many donations — there are too many to thank — the outpouring of support has been incredible.”
Protesters rallied outside the Josephine County Courthouse Thursday demanding justice for the animals. Posts on social media showed protesters carrying signs such as “animal lives matter” and “prosecute animal abuse.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Turner confirmed charges were filed Wednesday evening against Joe LaRue and Danielle LaRue (nee Brown), the owners of Pawsitive K9 Solutions, where the starving and neglected animals were found.
At the couple’s private residence, a dead rabbit and a dead horse were found, along with a number of other critically neglected animals, including more dogs but cats, another horse and two chickens. A small illegal marijuana farm also discovered there.
The LaRues each were charged with multiple counts of felony second-degree animal neglect, misdemeanor charges of animal abandonment, two felony charges of illegal marijuana cultivation and possession, a misdemeanor charge of water diversion and several charges of theft.
The couple were charged with three misdemeanor charges of theft over $1,000 and one charge of aggravated theft of over $10,000. According to Josephine County Circuit Court records, the victims of theft were owners of dogs rescued from the LaRue business and residence.
The couple are believed to have fled the area, according to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.
The first abused animals were discovered Sept. 21, when Josephine County Animal Control responded to reports of neglected starving dogs at Pawsitive K9 Solutions, 783 S.E. Sixth Street, in Grants Pass. Thirteen dogs with their ribs showing through their skin were rescued that night and taken to the shelter.
Sheriff’s deputies searched the LaRue home address Sept. 26, recovering additional neglected animals, including Heist, a male French bulldog, Honey, a female pit bull mix, multiple Bengal tabby cats and Skye, a blue cane corso, according to Circuit Court documents.
All 29 animals related to the case are under the shelter’s care, Jansen said, including the surviving horse rescued from the couple’s property, which is recovering at a foster home.
Pawsitive K9 Solution’s website describes the business as “our passion.” On the Services We Offer page, it promises “we serve with our heart” and lists training packages to teach boundaries and manners to dogs.
The business offered day care for $25 a day and boarding for $40 per night, as well as a variety of grooming packages.
On the “Who We Are” page, the website states: “No one can take care of your pet better than you, but at Pawsitive K9 Solutions Learn and Board, we aim to do equal or better.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the Josephine County Animal Shelter can call 541-474-5458.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.