300 more dogs seized in animal cruelty investigation

Another 300 dogs were taken Friday from a Skagit County dog breeder who officials say is connected to an animal cruelty investigation in Snohomish County.

Police have been told that the Gold Bar part of the business alone made millions of dollars each year, according to court papers released Friday.

A total of nearly 600 dogs have been seized since Jan. 16 in Snohomish and Skagit counties. Many of the animals were found living in deplorable conditions, officials said. The dogs didn’t have sufficient food and water and were covered with urine and feces.

Two dogs seized Wednesday from a suspected Mount Vernon-area illegal breeding operation were diagnosed with a potentially fatal contagious disease, Skagit County sheriff’s spokesman Will ­Reichardt said.

Officials on Wednesday rescued about 150 of 400 animals at the Mount Vernon property. On Friday, the remaining 308 dogs were taken, Reichardt said. Three of the dogs are being treated for an intestinal disorder linked to mistreatment and poor care.

Skagit County officials were tipped off about the dogs after raids in Gold Bar on Jan. 16 and in Snohomish the next day by Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies and animal control officials.

The Everett Animal Shelter now is caring for about 150 dogs rescued from Gold Bar.

Some of the Snohomish County dogs are showing possible symptoms of coccidia, Snohomish County Animal Control manager Vicki Lubrin said. The dogs are being tested for the intestinal disorder, which is spread among animals by exposure to unsanitary conditions.

The owners of the Skagit County property, Richard and Marjorie Sundberg, are related to the owners of the Snohomish County properties, Lubrin said.

No arrests have been made and the investigation continues.

Officials believe some of the dogs in Skagit County may have been moved from Snohomish.

A neighbor tipped off Snohomish County deputies to the breeding operation, a suspected puppy mill, according to a search warrant filed Friday in Evergreen District Court.

The man living in the Gold Bar home where the dogs were found allegedly told deputies the business made millions of dollars each year, the warrant said.

He also told deputies as many as 200 more dogs were at a separate residence near Snoho­mish. When officials raided two Snohomish properties, about 40 dogs were found. None of those animals was seized.

Officials now believe the mistreated dogs they were looking for in Snohomish may have been moved to Mount Vernon.

During the Snohomish raids, deputies also found evidence of possible drug use. Deputies found suspected marijuana, a white powder and more than 100 pills that were suspected OxyContin, the search warrant said.

Officials are asking anyone who bought a dog from the Skagit County Mountain View kennel belonging to the Sundbergs to call the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office at 360-336-9450.

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or jholtz@heraldnet.com.

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