HARTFORD (KSNT) – A Lyon County couple facing multiple counts of animal abuse after 14 wolf-dogs were rescued from their home in Hartford was fined $300 and placed on probation for one year.
Rhonda Staggs was sentenced on Dec. 22. Staggs had faced cruelty to animals charges and could have faced 12 months in jail, according to documents obtained from the District Court of Lyon County.
Her husband, Thomas Raymond Staggs, paid fines totaling $300 and was given 12 months probation as well. He will have to serve 30 days of house arrest and 40 hours of community service, according to court documents.
CEO of the Guardians of the Wolves Lori Wynn described her reaction to the sentence as “disappointed.”
“We are very disappointed in the outcome,” Wyann told KSNT News. “We just can’t believe how someone could walk away with the conditions the animals were in.”CEO of the Guardians of the Wolves Lori Wynn
Winn said the animals are doing good, although one had to be euthanized after the discovery. It had severe heartworm disease.
Winn said the sanctuary will continue to fight for custody of the animals. The Staggs will not be allowed to have any animals while they are on probation, according to the terms of their probation outlined by the Lyon County District Court.
Winn said the animals are “thriving,” and they want to see the animals go to good homes. The agency is waiting for Staggs to sign over custody of the dogs.
The Staggs home had had complaints of noise and excessive animals at the property. The city only allows up to five pets over the age of six.
KSNT reported on the Staggs in June when authorities and the rescue team arrived, the plan was to take all but five animals, but it was determined that the conditions were not safe for any living being. According to authorities, the animals were up to their elbows in sewage in the backyard.
According to the CEO of the Guardians of the Wolves Lori Wynn, the scene she walked into on May 26 was one of the most horrific she had ever seen in her years of wolf rescues. Wolf dogs are a unique breed that is part-domestic dog and part-wolf.
“There were animals feces all over the house, the smell was horrendous but there was a specific room where there were two adult animals kept in cages that is just horrific,” Wynn told KSNT in June. “And then from that room, it leads to a bedroom where there were feces all over and blood all over – that room is where we found two puppies. We were told there were two other puppies that died, so we assume that’s where the blood came from.”
The wolf-dogs were taken to a specialized sanctuary meant for these types of canines, but the location of their new home is kept private for their safety.