Rescued dogs from former vet now at Santa Fe animal shelter

Posted at: 04/02/2013 6:43 PM
Updated at: 04/02/2013 6:48 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Dozens of dogs, removed from a woman's home near Edgewood Monday, are now in the care of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter.

Meanwhile, pet owner Debra Clopton was charged Tuesday, not for animal cruelty charges, but for having narcotics.  Officers said she had drugs used by vets.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 learned the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine revoked Clopton's veterinary license more than a year ago.

All 48 dogs removed from Clopton's home are temporarily being housed at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter while they are waiting to be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Quiet and timid, some puppies are no more than a few months old.  Others are no more than a few weeks.  Some shake with fear inside their cages, while others twitch and have trouble standing up.

"You're going to find the whole range of animals; some that are healthy, some that are sick, some that unfortunately can't make it," Ben Swan, the spokesperson at the shelter, said.

The 48 dogs joined 130 dogs already in cages at the shelter.  Officials found themselves having to do whatever they could, including doubling up kennels, to help make room.

"It's just hard on everyone," Swan said.  "It's a trauma situation."

The dogs were living in deplorable conditions inside a double-wide trailer, Clopton said.

Clopton was a licensed veterinarian since the early 1990's, but according to the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine, her license was revoked in March 2012.  Since then, Clopton has had repeated complaints filed against her; claims that she continued treating animals without a license. 

According to the state board, Clopton never responded to the complaints, and a court order was filed against her. 

Similarly, investigators said Clopton has not given any explanation as to how she ended up with so many dogs.

"It's very difficult for any of us to see something like that or even to hear about it," Swan said.

The hope is, Swan said, a lot of the dogs will be able to be adopted out; adding, with the influx, the shelter is in need of blankets and food or any donations people are willing to contribute.

Additional charges in the case are pending.