10 dog carcasses found in Newalla animal cruelty case

·2 min read

Jul. 15—A woman has been charged for allegedly keeping five dogs and 10 dog carcasses in what the Cleveland County sheriff called "deplorable" conditions.

Christine Lewis, 57, of Oklahoma City was charged Wednesday with two counts of felony cruelty to animals in connection with her June 23 arrest. Lewis allegedly kept a home in the Newalla area with feces, trash and not enough water, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Lewis was not listed in the Cleveland County jail Friday, but Sheriff Chris Amason said in a video message about the incident that the person who kept the home "will be held responsible" for their alleged actions. Bodycam footage shows deputies arresting a person in connection with the incident.

In Oklahoma, animal cruelty is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

According to the probable cause affidavit, deputies discovered the animals when they responded to a welfare check call at the residence in the 14700 block of Melody Lane. Detective Matthew Sandburg alleged he smelled decomposing flesh and animal feces standing 30 yards away from the home.

When Sandburg looked through the windows, he saw piles of trash 2 feet tall coated in dog feces, according to the affidavit. He also said it seemed that the wooden decking appeared to have held decomposing flesh for longer than two days, the affidavit states.

When he entered the residence, Sandburg found the carcasses of 10 dogs and five living Mastiffs inside.

Sandburg also found the floor covered with maggots, trash and 1-4 inches of animal feces, and could smell animal urine, according to the affidavit. He also found "a single container of murky and untouched water," which he said was not enough for the living animals, the affidavit states.

Bodycam footage of the response shows boxes and furniture scattered throughout the residence among feces and trash.

"(They) had no food, no water, living in, you know, feces covered the floor," Amason said in the video response. "It was sad."

The temperature of the inside of the home was also hotter than the outside, the affidavit states.

"The dangerous heat would have led to the death of more animals and likely led to the death (of) some of the deceased animals," Sandburg said in the affidavit.

The five live dogs found at the home are under the care of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, according to Hunter McKee, spokesperson for the sheriff's office.

"If you have dogs and you can't take care of them, there are resources out there in the community that we can find homes for these dogs, and they don't have to be left to suffer and die the way that they did," Amason said in the video message.