COTTONWOOD, Calif. - The Tehama County Sheriff's Office seized three dogs that they believed needed medical attention and were being neglected on October 14.
According to Sheriff's officials, a deputy spotted the trio in the roadway near 16925 McCoy Road in Cottonwood. The deputy recalled that one dog appeared sick or wounded. The deputy said that he unsuccessfully tried to locate the owner, but was able to contain the dogs in the yard as best as he could. An animal regulation officer (ARO) was called to the home.
Around 3:15 p.m., the ARO arrived at the home and saw four dogs in the yard. Officials claim that a neighbor spoke to the officer and reported that the dogs had been left unattended for about two weeks, but had been coming to the neighbor's house for food.
The ARO reported that one dog was sick and needed medical attention. While at the scene, one of the dogs escaped the yard through the gate, at which point the ARO gave that dog a treat "in attempt to determine if it was friendly".
The officer leashed the escaped dog and placed it in his vehicle, during this time the other dogs left through the gate and were then taken by the ARO.
Officials reported that the dog identified as sick at the home was found to be suffering from stage three dental disease, severe alopecia, open sores on her back and abdomen, ear infections, parasites and fleas with skin lesions over her entire body.
Animal Shelter employees recognized the dogs as belonging to Heidi Erickson, 42, of Cottonwood, due to prior contacts with Erickson and the pets. The staff tried to contact Erickson right away.
Two days later, Erickson contacted the ARO and said she owned all of the dogs. Erickson said she could not provide or afford to pay for the medical treatment needed for Tilly and surrendered the dog to the shelter.
According to officials, Erickson talked to a sergeant with the Sheriff's office and asked to be paid money or else she would go to the news with the story. The Sheriff's office reported that this conversation was recorded.