COTTONWOOD, Calif. - A Cottonwood woman claims Tehama County Sheriff's Deputies stole her dogs more than a week ago and said she has it on video, but deputies have a different story.
Deputies claim they did not steal the dogs; they seized them because they were neglected and needed medical attention.
On October 14 a deputy was patrolling McCoy Road in Cottonwood when he found three dogs out on the road. An Animal Regulation Officer was called and noticed a fourth dog needed medical attention. All four were seized and taken to the Tehama County Animal Care Center in Red Bluff where manager Christine McClintock works.
"She said the dogs were out again and they had jumped on the deputy’s car as he drove past. And so the deputy had contained the dog but noticed one of the dogs wasn't looking good,” said McClintock.
The injured dog is named Tillie and animal regulation had seen her before. McClintock added, "Her nails were pretty long and actually caused open sores on her understand they had caused open sores on her back. Pretty much the only area unaffected was the top of her shoulders and the top of her head."
A series of pictures show the progression of Tillie’s wounds over the course of a week since this all happened. Officials say its clear Tillie could have and should have been treated.
Staff recognized Heidi Erickson as the owner of the dogs. When asked about Tillie’s conditions, Erickson said she was rescued from a friend a little more than a year ago and was doing everything she could to help.
Erickson was not home at the time, but says she arranged for a neighbor to check on the dogs. She admitted that the dogs had escaped the yard before but said they were happy and well cared for.
The video posted online has gathered some negative comments and threats toward animal regulation. McClintock said those have been reported to the Sheriff’s Office and are under investigation but hopes there is a learning moment from all of this.
"We're all just trying to do our jobs and do what's best for these animals. And in this case Tilie needed some medical help and we were able to provide that," said McClintock.
The Animal Care Center noted that none of Erickson’s dogs were licensed, vaccinated or fixed. They also point out that it’s against the law for dogs to be out on the road unleashed.
Erickson had to pay a civil penalty in order to get the dogs back but she decided to surrender Tilie to a local animal rescue. Erickson said she simply could not afford her medical care.