Animal farm alarm

Somerset woman could face neglect charges
By: Roger Phelps The Telegraph
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A Somerset woman without money to care for her livestock turned herself in to animal-control authorities April 23 and surrendered her 45 neglected stock animals. Infirm horses, sheep and other livestock were seized from a Happy Valley Drive property and placed at a Latrobe rehabilitation ranch. "El Dorado animal control got a call from the lady herself," said Katja Dyssegard of the Grace Foundation ranch in Latrobe. "She was overwhelmed." Some 23 horses whose hooves had received no trimming for an unknown but extended period are nearly unable to walk. Bone-structure alterations suffered during the evident neglect might have crippled some horses for life, and some might have to be euthanized, said Beth DeCaprio, executive director of the Grace Foundation of Northern California. Others probably will make it, but only after long-term rehabilitation including a gradual trimming down of crippling excess hoof growth. Some 15 sheep in extremely poor shape are expected to survive after long-term care including immediate shearing of excess wool of perhaps double the animals' body weight. "The sheep are critical," DeCaprio said. "They're carrying five or six years of growth of wool. If they fall down, they can't get up." The sheep's wool is matted with feces and infested with parasites, Dyssegard said. The owner is Sue Lyons, a Placerville businesswoman, according to Henry Brzezinski, the county's chief animal-control officer. She could face charges, he said. "A report will be sent to the District Attorney," Brzezinski said. The property that housed the animals is in the 7500 block of Happy Valley Drive. Other seized livestock include five llamas, a cow and a goat. "She had them in pens on a couple of acres," DeCaprio said. "She was a typical animal 'hoarder,' almost like a collector. It will take months and months on these animals." Dyssegard and DeCaprio said volunteers have responded well in the crisis and have worked steadily at the rehabilitation ranch since the animals came in. “We are already getting inquiries from people who want to help or want to know if the animals will ever be up for adoption,” Brzezinski said. He announced that money donations can go by check to the El Dorado County Pet Aid Fund, 415 Placerville Dr., Suite N, Placerville, Ca. 95667, or by making arrangements with the Grace Foundation at (916) 941-0800. The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at, or post a comment at