Casa K-9 case concludes

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Helen Jackson, 84, owner of Casa K-9 on West Ridgecrest Boulevard, has accepted a plea bargain from the District Attorney’s office.

Jackson, who pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to one count, was arrested last fall on four felony counts of cruelty to animals. The other three counts were dismissed in the interest of the furtherance of justice.

In the Jan. 10 decision on her case, Jackson was given summary probation for three years, in addition to fines totaling $470.

A misdemeanor contempt-of-court charge, filed Dec. 24, 2013, was dismissed on Jan. 10.

In addition, she owes restitution to Animal Control, for expenses relating to the animals’ board and care between the seizure of the animals last July 5 and this Jan. 10, when they were released by the court to be adopted.

According to Animal Control Supervisor Mary Stage, the total is about $8,000, for medical care, boarding fees, de-worming, flea and tick baths and so on, for approximately 30 animals since July 5 at $8 per day per animal.

“The court only allowed her up to three personal pets at her residence, with no boarding at the kennel,” said Stage. “Once the court made a determination, all the animals were turned over to the shelter for adoption. So far, we’ve placed about seven of them.”

Jackson had been in business in Ridgecrest for 27 years, providing mainly a pet boarding facility. In recent years, however, the facility became increasingly run down. Building codes have changed in the last 27 years. The electrical service to the property shorted out because of an accident, and officials of Southern California Edison refused to turn service back on until the property was brought up to code.

Jackson was notified of the violations, but lacked the funds to make required repairs. The animals under her care were subjected to temperatures below 40 degrees in winter and above104 degrees in summer.

On July 5, after receiving multiple complaints, Ridgecrest Police and Animal Control officers raided the premises and seized 33 animals, which were taken to Ridgecrest Animal Shelter for veterinary care, de-ticking and cooling. Both types of officers gave statements on the conditions in which the animals were found, and the District Attorney’s office filed charges against Jackson last November.

Three of the animals had been boarded and were reunited with their owners.

Stage said that she made repeated offers to help Jackson during the last five years, but that Jackson insisted, “I don’t want anything from you.”

Story First Published: 2014-02-19