Gold Bar-area couple to be sentenced today for cruelty to dogs

  • Sun Jan 24th, 2010 10:44pm
  • News

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

GOLD BAR — A Gold Bar-area couple is scheduled to be sentenced today for their role in a multimillion-dollar puppy mill operation that Snohomish County officials raided a year ago.

Jason Dean Larsen and Serenna Lynn Larsen, both 38, face up to a year in jail. They could be placed behind bars this afternoon.

The couple entered guilty pleas just before Thanksgiving to six counts each of first-degree animal cruelty.

Nearly 160 dogs were rescued from a home near Gold Bar where prosecutors say the Larsens lived. The couple were responsible for caring for the animals, officials said.

The dogs, mostly small “designer” breeds, were covered in excrement and lived in overcrowded conditions. Many of the dogs had matted coats and faced serious health problems.

Six puppy bodies were found in a freezer stored along with food.

More dead dogs were found in a garbage bin.

Prior to their guilty pleas, the couple said they didn’t know that what they were doing was illegal and that they were following the instruction of Renee Roske, the owner of Wags ‘n’ Wiggles, a Snohomish dog breeding business.

Witnesses have told detectives that Roske’s business generated millions of dollars in revenue. She has not been charged.

The day after the Gold Bar-area raid, Snohomish County officials obtained a court order to search Roske’s home. No dogs were taken, but officials did remove illegal drugs.

Roske said many of her dogs were moved to her parents’ kennel in Skagit County, court documents said.

Officials there raided the parents’ property and seized around 450 dogs, many in terrible condition. Roske’s parents, Marjorie and Richard Sundberg, face animal cruelty charges in Skagit County.

The Skagit County case is scheduled to go to trial in February.

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