The Lassen County District Attorney’s Office will have to determine if charges of animal cruelty and/or neglect will be filed against four Adin residents — Jessica Wick, 39, Christian Cledan’ Corwin, 36, James Joint and Brooke Dibrell, 18.
During the course of the investigation, deputies seized 115 living animals: 24 dogs, 22 goats, 15 horses, eight pigs, one cow, 26 rabbits, 10 ducks, four chickens, one goose, one sheep, one cat, one alpaca and one turtle. Unfortunately, veterinarians determined that it was necessary to euthanize one of the horses and the alpaca due to their suffering condition.
Deputies and veterinary staff determined all of the animals that belonged to the above-named individuals needed to be removed from the property for their well-being. Most of the animals were malnourished, neglected or housed in an inhumane fashion. There was not adequate food, water or care provided to any of the animals. Deputies also located a pile of animal carcasses that measured approximately 30 feet long by 20 feet wide and 4 feet deep. There were several species of animals in various stages of decomposition including, but not limited to: horses, cows, dogs, goats, pigs, lambs, chickens, skunks, ducks and deer. The investigation determined that the animals were being fed various rotting carcasses from the deceased animals located on the property.
Dog bite investigation
On Sunday, Oct. 2 deputy Michael “Chance” Loflin responded to 667-290 Highway 299 in Adin in regards to a dog bite. While investigating the dog bite, Loflin noticed several animals on the property that were lacking proper care. In addition to the animals that were lacking care, Loflin also noticed some dead animals in various stages of decomposition.
Based on his observations, he sought and obtained a search warrant for the properties where the owner kept her animals. A plan was put together to serve the warrant, have the animals evaluated by veterinarians and remove the animals from the property as necessary for their well-being. Based on the number of animals and the size of the property, there was a great deal of planning and logistics that had to be coordinated.
On Monday, Oct. 10, deputies from the LCSO and the LCSO Animal Control Officer, served a search warrant at the above address in regards to animal neglect. The primary parcel searched included approximately 284 acres with a primary residence, shop area and several outbuildings. There were also numerous travel trailers on the property. Upon securing the property, several individuals were detained for investigative purposes, while deputies sorted through the property. A second adjacent parcel was also searched.
It was determined that several individuals were living in the travel trailers and had ultimately been squatting on the property. These individuals became the focus of an investigation of animal cruelty and/or neglect. Once the property was secure, deputies escorted veterinarians and their staff from the Lassen Veterinary Office and the Thompson Peak Veterinary Office to evaluate every animal found on the property.
The investigation is on-going and a case will be sent to the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution against Wick, Cledan-Corwin, Joint, and Dibrell. There were no immediate arrests due to the complexity of this investigation. There are several moving parts, reports, and involvement from veterinarians, animal control officers, public works and sheriff’s office investigators that are in the process of being completed.
According to a statement from the LCSO, “Our top priority was removing the animals and getting them the proper care, food, water and living arrangements in order for them to recover and survive.”
There were several animals of various species that belonged to the property owner, who lived in the primary residence. These animals were kept separate from the other animals on the property. Veterinarians determined that these particular animals that belonged to the homeowner were slightly under fed, however, were not neglected. Veterinary staff provided both verbal and written instructions to the homeowner on how to better care for the animals. The LCSO Animal Control Officer is going to continuously follow up and conduct site visits to ensure that these animals are being properly cared for.
The LCSO would like to thank the staff from the Thompson Peak Veterinary Office, Lassen Veterinary Office, Lassen County Public Works Department, Lassen County Animal Shelter staff, Susanville Towing and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for their assistance.
Donna Phillips from the Lassen County Animal Shelter was able to coordinate with Brian Phillips and employees from Susanville Towing to arrange for several horse trailers, animal crates, animal food and transportation vehicles to be used for this operation. Without their assistance, the successful and safe removal of these animals would not have been possible.