Animal control officers and sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at a residence at 180 Blueberry Lane in Patrick Springs on Wednesday afternoon, Smith said.
Caroline M. Laprad, 89, and her son Charles Dean Laprad, 54, were both arrested and each charged with 14 counts of cruelty to animals, all misdemeanors, Smith said.
Sheriff’s Deputy Ronnie Williams, the county’s animal control officer, stated that he had visited the residence in late May and saw that multiple dogs appeared to be suffering from severe skin conditions and other signs of neglect, Smith said.
Williams said that he spoke to Charles Laprad at that time and told him to seek veterinary care for the dogs, Smith said.
Williams and Deputy Animal Control Officers Wanda Vaden and Angela Martin, along with several sheriff’s deputies, went to the Blueberry Lane address Wednesday shortly after noon to conduct a follow-up investigation regarding the conditions of the animals to see if improvement had been made since May, according to Smith.
Williams said that the conditions had “worsened - not improved - since May, and we had to find immediate care for the dogs,” according to Smith.
Because of the magnitude of the case, Smith stated that he asked for help from Martinsville Police Officer E.C. Stone, animal control 0fficer for the city of Martinsville.
In total, 58 dogs were seized from inside the home and from a small fenced-in area attached to the primary residence, Smith said.
Williams stated that the dogs ran freely from inside the house into the fenced area outside and that conditions were deplorable, according to Smith.
He added that Charles Laprad offered a significant amount of verbal resistance and had to be arrested and removed from the scene shortly after deputies arrived.
Smith stated that the Humane Society of Virginia was contacted and Angels of Assisi Animal Rescue from Roanoke responded to the scene and transported the animals to their shelter. Smith said that the animals will receive veterinary care while they are being boarded.
The 14 charges are a result from the dogs in the worst physical condition of the 58 dogs seized, Smith said. He added that Angels of Assisi staff members have said that they are hopeful that many of the dogs can eventually be adopted out once their conditions improve, pending the outcome of the court process.
Smith said the animal cruelty statute in Virginia states that it is a felony if any companion animal dies as the result of the neglect of injury. Charges could be upgraded if any of the seized dogs die, Smith said.
They should also be charging felonies for any dog that is in such bad shape it has to be euthanized.
Charles Laprad is being held in the Patrick County Jail without bail and Caroline Laprad, due to her advanced age, was released on a recognizance bond, Smith said.
(Martinsville Bulletin - July 27, 2017)