Sunday, July 17, 2016

Oklahoma: Heather Scyrkels, who was charged with animal cruelty in 2012, found with more than 100 animals

OKLAHOMA -- Conditions have been described as “disturbing” as more than 100 animals were found both inside and out in the backyard of a Lindsay residence.

Cages were reported to be stacked all over as a Garvin County official said Friday a total of 108 small animals were found at the singe-family residence in the 900 block of Choctaw.

Scyrkels' 2012 animal cruelty arrest photo

The good news is every single animal is now receiving proper care as an ongoing investigation continues to look at a resident who claims the house is actually an animal rescue facility.

That's not the case, according to Sheriff Larry Rhodes.

“The conditions were terrible,” Sheriff Rhodes told the PV Democrat. “It took our breath away. Many of the animals were in crates, and I'm alleging they were being deprived. It's disturbing and kind of exemplifies the overpopulation of stray animals here in Oklahoma.”

A search warrant affidavit filed in Garvin County District Court shows that Heather Shawna Scyrkels, 43, lives at the residence with her daughter and appears to be target of the ongoing investigation.

She "claims to work with an animal rescue facility" in Blanchard. However, Rhodes says the facility does not have the proper licensing or certification.

“She claims to have been running an animal facility, where she was holding animals to adopt out. She told us she was a rescue facility. It was not an established animal facility,” the sheriff adds.

In all there were a total of 60 cats, 20 dogs, 15 rabbits and a few other animals, such as ferrets and a kinkajou, found by county deputies and Lindsay police at the residence.

The filed affidavit shows Scyrkels was cited by Lindsay police in 2012 for violating a local ordinance on the maximum number of dogs allowed at a residence.

That same year she received a felony charge of cruelty to animals in Grady County.

In that case there were 22 horses alleged to have been deprived of proper care. A plea agreement was reached as she pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor count.


The trail to finding the triple digit number of animals here actually began Monday when the sheriff's office was contacted by an Erin Springs resident just south of Lindsay. The report was on hearing talk of missing animals in the area, including his own pet.

That tip led to a rural residence a few miles south, where county deputies reported finding a large number of dogs, a total of 40.

Although the site did have “adequate space” it was not a licensed animal facility. Rhodes says two homeowners are now being monitored to follow a course of action for the care of the animals.

“While investigating that they told us there was a lady in Lindsay with over 100 dogs,” Rhodes said.

On Wednesday night the sheriff, his deputies and Lindsay police were allowed to check out the house as the conditions were described as poor.

An official warrant to search the property was sought and approved the next day when the homeowner became uncooperative in working with authorities.

“When we went in there were a lot more of them than what I saw on the walk through the night before,” Rhodes says about the animals.

“We began documenting the animals and the conditions and working to get them into a facility that could care for them. By midnight we had all the animals placed with adequate shelter.”

Animals she starved in 2012

According to the sheriff, three organizations took in the animals, two veterinarians in Lindsay and a foundation in Oklahoma City.

The sheriff's office here is now working with the district attorney's office to go through the formal process for the homeowner to forfeit the animals, along with possible criminal charges.

The sheriff says he has also petitioned the court detailing the conditions of the house where the animals were kept.

(Pauls Valley Daily Democrat - Jul 16, 2016)