Eagle Mountain woman suspected of animal cruelty after police find 16 dead dogs in home

Deputies had removed 14 dogs from the same woman’s home in 2018.

(Courtesy Utah County Sheriff's Office) Animal feces cover the floor of a home in Eagle Mountain, where deputies found 16 dead dogs and 14 that were alive and removed from the house on March 3, 2022.

A 74-year-old woman is suspected of animal cruelty after police found 16 dead dogs in her Eagle Mountain home earlier this month, which was in “horrific” condition, Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office has submitted the case to the Utah County Attorney’s Office for a final charging decision, recommending that the woman be charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty: 16 for the dogs that died, and 14 for the dogs that were alive and removed from the home.

The situation was “disturbing to say the least, and sad,” Cannon said.

On March 3, deputies with the sheriff’s office obtained a warrant to search the house after neighbors reported finding multiple dead and malnourished dogs inside, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. The woman was hospitalized at the time due to a fall, and the neighbors told police that they’d gone into the house to check on the dogs.

When deputies entered the house, they encountered “an overwhelming odor of animal feces and urine,” the release stated. Feces and urine covered the floors, and the conditions were “not fit for humans to live in — or animals,” Cannon said.

Deputies and animal shelter staffers found 15 dead dogs in the woman’s freezer, inside zip-close bags and grocery bags, the release stated. Another dog was found dead, lying on the floor just outside a kennel.

The 14 living dogs they removed ranged from puppies to adults. Cannon described them as “aggressive” and “almost feral.” He said two people were bitten by the dogs while trying to catch them: an animal shelter staffer who received a minor bite, and a deputy whose work boot prevented the dog’s teeth from breaking the skin.

Cannon said the dogs removed from the home would have to receive training to help them learn to be friendly toward people before they could be adopted.

In 2018, police removed 14 living dogs from the same home, Cannon said. But at that time, deputies didn’t see obvious signs of abuse or neglect. The woman was able to get four of the dogs back — the most that Eagle Mountain city ordinance will allow, Cannon said — and she relinquished the other 10.

Cannon said police aren’t sure where the 30 dogs they found in the woman’s home on March 3 came from, and don’t know whether they’re descendants of the four dogs she kept from 2018.

Police had tried to inspect the woman’s house on another previous occasion, but she refused, and deputies didn’t have enough evidence at the time to get a search warrant, Cannon said. But on March 3, the sheriff’s office obtained a warrant based on the neighbors’ reports, he said.

The dogs that were taken out of the home this month are being kept at an animal shelter, and the woman won’t have an opportunity to get any of them back until she appears in court, Cannon said.

“We are hopeful that we can convince the prosecutors to try to get a judge to order that she not have them,” he said.