Animal Control Maltese

MISSOULA - More than 40 dogs are being sheltered at Missoula Animal Control in an animal cruelty case. 

The Missoula County Attorney's Office confirmed 41 Maltese dogs are being housed at the shelter. In an email, Deputy County Attorney Mac Bloom said, "many of the dogs have significant health issues and are being treated by veterinarians." 

Bloom said his office recently filed a criminal case against Debra Luanne Long for failing to care for some of these dogs. 

Long is currently charged with nine counts of animal cruelty; eight of which are felonies. Court documents indicate the crimes occurred between June 2018 and December 2019 when Long mistreated the animals inside her trailer. 

Missoula Animal Control reportedly received an anonymous letter in December 2019, that raised concerns about the dogs. The dogs were living inside a 5th wheel trailer on property owned by Long, while Long lived at a separate residence with her mother, according to court documents. 

When Animal Control officers went to investigate, they found several of the dogs were caked in dried feces and urine. Officers said all nine dogs inside the trailer appeared to have health issues. Additionally the trailer floor was covered in a one foot layer of feces, according to court documents. 

Those nine dogs were seized and taken to area veterinarians for treatment, including dental, reproductive, weight, and heart issues. 

The nine charges were filed at the end of January.

The case is ongoing and it's unclear at this time where the other dogs 30+ dogs were located or what additional charges, if any, will be filed. 

Bloom said once the dogs have been medically cleared, they will be available for adoption. Anyone interested in adopting one of the dogs should contact Missoula Animal Control.

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