Sheriff’s office names suspects in Stevens County puppy mill raids

September 18, 2018

The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of four suspects after deputies raided two illegal dog breeding operations last week.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the sheriff’s office identified the suspects as David Clark, 68, Carolyn Clark, 75, Stephen Mark McDowell, 63, and Linley Staples, 61.

The Clarks are from Ford, the unincorporated community along Highway 231 where deputies found 89 dogs and puppies living in a filthy trailer home on Sept. 11, the sheriff’s office said.

McDowell and Staples are from Nine Mile Falls, where deputies found another 166 dogs living in a split-level home in a separate raid on the same day, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspects are accused of selling dogs nationwide, often on a website called puppyfinder.com. The sheriff’s office said it was looking for anyone who had purchased a puppy from the suspects that later became sick or died, and anyone who may have been defrauded by the suspects.

The charges against each suspect were not immediately available. The sheriff’s office previously said they likely would face charges of animal cruelty, violations of dog breeding statutes and possibly felonies.

The sheriff’s office said it had been overwhelmed with inquiries about the puppy mills, with many pet owners asking if their lost dogs were found in the raids. All of the seized dogs were small breeds, the “vast majority” being long- and short-haired chihuahuas.

Volunteers were checking each dog for microchips at an emergency shelter. The sheriff’s office said the animals would eventually be turned over to rescue organizations. Only then would they be available for fostering or adoption.

The sheriff’s office asked that all tips and inquiries about the puppy mills be sent to puppymillinfo@stevenscountywa.gov.

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