Former veterinarian faces animal cruelty charges

Posted at: 04/01/2013 10:26 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The traffic coming down a windy, rural Best View Trail in Edgewood is a welcome sight for residents like Vickie Simpson.

"I can hear the dogs inside my house. They're disturbing us constantly. The sheriff's been out here. Animal Control. She needs to leave," said Simpson.

Santa Fe City and County Animal Services, along with Dona Ana County Animal Cruelty Task Force, executed a search warrant on Debra Clopton's home.

Authorities expect to remove at least 40 dogs from the property.

The sheriff's office says most of the dogs are in good condition.

But at least one dog has a cyst on its neck which concerns investigators.

Rob Simpson's daughter captured a picture of a dog that she says was killed by other dogs.

Clopton could face animal cruelty charges for each dog that’s in bad condition.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 asked Clopton why she was keeping so many dogs. She didn't reply.

It's not the first time she's been accused of animal cruelty.

The sheriff's office says she was a veterinarian in Rio Rancho until her license got taken away, in part because she was treating an animal when her license expired.

"That is concerning to us because if in fact she's performing any veterinary care on these animals we'd be able to charge her with something for practicing without a license," said Lt. William Pacheco.

Simpson is glad authorities are stepping in before things get worse.

"I think one of these days the dogs are going to turn on her, that's how vicious they are," she said.