GREAT FALLS- Several animals living in poor conditions were discovered after a fire broke out on a woman’s property on May 6, 2020.
Court documents say two Cascade County Sheriff's Office Deputies responded to a call to a structure fire where a trailer of some sort had completely burned to the ground with some animals perishing in the fire.
When they arrived, deputies saw goats, dogs and horses running loose inside the property.
The deputies contacted the owner of the property, Pamela Jo Polejewski, as she was removing animals from her Prowler Camper Trailer that was near the fire.
While a deputy was helping Polejewski remove her animals, court documents say the inside of the camper was filthy and smelled of animal urine.
The deputy noticed a dog’s head between blankets, tarps and bags in the trailer, and when Polejewski was asked about it, she said the dog was dying and very heavy.
Polejewski told deputies the structure that burned was her barn, which was a converted trailer home.
Court documents say law enforcement noticed a cage full of kittens, multiple small fenced areas with dogs, and more dogs and goats running loose on the property.
The cage full of kittens appeared to have so many kittens, they barely had any room to move around.
Many dogs were also found in multiple makeshift kennels throughout the property that were not suitable for them to live in, court documents noting that it did not appear the dogs had food.
Multiple ducks and geese were discovered in the same type of environment as the dogs, in makeshift fenced areas with a plastic pool with no water in it.
Goats along with three horses were found running loose as well. Two additional horses were also found in a corral made of fallen down pallets and baling string.
On another part of the property, seven more horses were found in a makeshift metal building that did not look accessible for the horses to shelter themselves from the elements.
Multiple extension cords were strung across the wet ground that appeared to be connected to an electrical box and power pole next to where the fire started.
Court documents say it was clear to law enforcement that the property involved animal hoarding, and that Polejewski has a long history of animal hoarding in Cascade County.
On May 7, a search warrant was obtained for the property and a detective searched the property with assistance from CCSO, a veterinarian and personnel from the Great Falls Animal Shelter.
During the search, a mini horse with a swollen nose was found, court documents saying the horse’s feet had not been cared for and were so long that they had curled, causing deformities to the horse.
Inside the Prowler Trailer was a deceased dog, along with a cage containing five kittens, a pot-bellied pig and four puppies running around in their own feces.
An adult dog was also removed from the Prowler that had a severely disfigured face due to an infection, that the veterinarian elected to euthanize to end its suffering.
When what appeared to be the personal residence was searched, ten dogs were found, one locked in a kennel with no food or water, along with a tortoise that suffered an injury to its shell and legs.
A ferret in a kennel with no food or water was found in a bedroom, and a cockatiel and two parakeets were found in the bathroom as well as an adult cat that was found to have no eyes.
In a back bedroom, they found a caged rooster with torn back tail feathers as well as two feral cats that were not contained.
In total, court documents say 172 animals were discovered and seized from the property.
Polejewski claimed to run a no-kill non-profit animal sanctuary called “Hooves Paws and Claws,” however court documents say records indicate this entity was involuntarily dissolved by the Montana Secretary of State in December of 2018.
Pamela Jo Polejewski has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and three counts of cruelty to animals.