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Feb 15, 2013 7:09 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Charges filed against animal advocate

NOGALES - A longtime animal advocate in Nogales is facing two counts of animal cruelty after animal control officers found 11 dogs living in deplorable conditions insider her home.

Lieutenant Jose Pena from the Santa Cruz County Animal Care and Control says the case came to light in December when Yvonne Ragland was being evicted from the home she had been renting, "this is one of the worst due to the fact the way the animals, the conditions the animals were in. It was extremely dirty. The smell was horrible," he recalled.

Pena said he was shocked to find the 11 dogs living under such poor conditions, "we put our trust in her because she was a rescuer. She came to our shelter to rescue animals and adopt. She'd go to Petsmart in Tucson and adopt the animals and never did I imagine that we were going to find this situation," he said.

Ragland, 56, was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and released on her own recognizance. According to Pena, the dogs were not removed from the home or from Ragland's possession, "we felt that the animals were not in a life threatening situation. Basically the conditions where the animals were were not clean and we try to educate the people and make sure that they understand that these animals have to be in a clean environment."

Meanwhile, the Santa Cruz Humane Society has cleaned up the reputation Ragland left behind said Sue Rogers, "Yvonne has not been a part of this shelter since basically August of 2010."

Rogers said when Ragland worked at the shelter, upwards of 80 dogs were on the property, "to make sure that these animals can be adopted and that's a big change here rather than just letting them become warehoused." Today there are approximately 30 to 35.

The Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office said Ragland is also being investigated for fraud and theft though charges have not been formally filed. Attempts to reach Ragland and her attorney were unsuccessful Friday.

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