Nye County Sheriff's Office (NCSO) deputies converged on the Black Rock Avenue house after receiving reports of animals being kept in dreadful conditions.
They found 15 animals on the property and in the home. Some smaller cats had been locked in bedrooms, the walls of which were smeared with feces and urine, Fox 5 Vegas reported.
Eight Canadian Siberian lynx hybrid cats were found locked in rooms with 'horrific' air quality, NCSO said in a Facebook post. Also in the rooms were a cervel caracal hybrid cat and a Fennec fox.
In cages outside were two African lionesses and an African lion, a Bengal tiger, and a black panther.
Incredibly, almost all of the animals there were being held legally, as the home had a special conditions animal permit - the sole exception being the fox, which is illegal to own.
But the 'deplorable' conditions of the cats meant that officers were authorized to remove all of the animals from the home pending an investigation into their permit.
Jacki Freeman, 57, and Abby Hedengran, 67, both of Pahrump, shared joint custody of the animals, police said - and as Freeman was the one with custody of the animals at that point, she was issued a Misdemeanor citation for animal cruelty.
WHO IS JACKI FREEMAN??
Abby Hedengran (aka Gert Hedengran, Gert Einar Hedengran, Abby Hedengran, Gert Abby Hedengran). His wife is Emma Hedengran (aka Roena Hedengran, Roena Emma Hedengran).
From March 1998, through March 2005 the Hedengrans operated a non-profit animal sanctuary and exhibition featuring exotic felines, including lions and tigers.
They are also investigating the illegal possession of the fox.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NYE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE:
Jacki Freeman, 57, Pahrump
Abby Hedengran, Pahrump
On 11/17/2016 the Nye County Sheriff's Office received several reports of exotic animals that were not being properly cared for on Black Rock Street in Pahrump.
The residence in question has a special conditions animal permit, which provides them a license to possess special conditions animals per Nye County Code.
Freeman and Hedengran both have had responsibility for the care and custody of these animals. Freeman and Hedengran are currently involved in litigation with each other. Nye County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Officers, Deputies, and Nevada Division of Wildlife Officers responded. Upon arriving NCSO Deputies made entry into the residence with the consent of the owner via telephone.
Inside they discovered several cats that were in unacceptable living conditions. The animals were locked in bedrooms and had been urinating and defecating on the walls and carpet. The air quality inside of the bedrooms was horrific.
The home owner is reporting that the cats are Candadian Siberian Lynx Hybrid which is not a species requiring permitting in Nye County. Investigation into their specific species is being conducted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Deputies and Officers also discovered inside of the home a Fennec Fox.
Possession of a Fennec Fox is a violation of Nevada Administrative Code. Nevada Department of Wildlife Officers are handling the appropriate investigation relating to the Fennec Fox and will facilitate the appropriate placement for the animal.
Due to the possession of the illegal fox and the deplorable living conditions of the cats inside the house, all of the special conditions animal permited animals on the property were seized while the special conditions animal permit is reviewed.
Animals seized from the property include 2 African Lionesses, 1 African Lion, 1 Bengal Tiger, 8 Candadian Siberian Lynx Hybrid Cats, 1 Black Panther, 1 Fennec Fox and 1 Cervel Caracal Hybrid Cat.
NCSO Deputies and Animal Control Officers are continuing their investigation and working on placement at a USDA approved sanctuary.
Jacki Freeman was issued a citation for animal cruelty as she was the current individual having custody of the animals.
Nye County Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation and will present the findings to the Nye County Board of County Commissioners relating to the special conditions animal permit.
In 2005, a tiger escaped from its pen in California and authorities shot and killed it. The article "Tiger Killed Near Reagan Library" says:
"Two weeks ago, authorities removed nearly two dozen large cats, including lions and tigers, from property rented by Abby Hedengran and Emma Hedengran not far from the library, Bernard said. All the animals that inspectors found on the property were accounted for, she said."
(Daily Mail - Nov 17, 2016)
- California: Hedengrans Arrested in Tiger's Escape. The Moorpark animal sanctuary owners denied the cat belonged to them while it roamed suburban areas. Trackers killed it Feb. 23.
- California: Gert "Abby" Hedengran and his wife, Roena "Emma" Hedengran take plea bargain in case involving loose tiger that was shot and killed
- Nevada: Gert "Abby" Hedengran and his wife fled California with their exotic animals, moving their problems to Nevada
- California: Abby Hedengran who caused his tiger to be shot and killed and then lied about it avoids jail, receives home detention
- California's tough laws help protect exotic animals