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Humane society rescues dogs from puppy mill

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The dogs rescued from the rural Rainier puppy mill included 35 akitas, as well as many dachshunds and other small dog mixes including terriers and poodles, all ranging in age from puppies to adults. The Oregon Humane Society rescued 118 dogs and 21 horses Wednesday, Nov. 13, from a Columbia County puppy mill that is currently under investigation for animal neglect.

OHS officers contacted the Columbia County Sheriff's Office Wednesday morning to help secure the scene while serving a search warrant on a Rainier property located at 25888 Karr Road.

Columbia Humane Society officials assisted at the scene.

The breeder, Catherine Setere, is now under investigation for failure to provide minimum care for animals, including adequate shelter and access to clean water.

A recent inspection of the facility by Columbia County Animal Control found unsanitary conditions, such as pervasive fecal matter and urine throughout the shelter's kennels. In one outbuilding used to house the dogs, an inspector found no open windows or ventilation, numerous piles of fecal waste and floors saturated with urine stains.

"We're just happy all these dogs are receiving the care they need," said Barbara Baugnon, marketing and communications director with OHS.

“We undertook today’s rescue operation to stop the suffering of these animals,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon in a press release. “The dogs at this breeding facility were living in shocking conditions.”

In anticipation of the rescue, OHS constructed an emergency animal shelter where the dogs will be cared for by an OHS medical team until the case is resolved. Baugnon said the rescue effort ran a cost $55,000 as of Thursday morning.

Setere could face multiple counts of animal neglect, each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine.

The operator of the facility could also be in violation of the Oregon Puppy Mill Act, which prohibits breeders from having more than 50 breeding dogs at one facility.

Baugnon said OHS has two full-time officers with "full police authority" to investigate such matters. She added that OHS received a complaint about that breeding facility.

The organization receives about 1,500 complaints a year.

The dogs seized from the puppy mill are not currently available for adoption since they are being held as evidence in a potential legal case against the owner of the breeding operation.