2 more arrested in Marion County dog-neglect case

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SALEM, Ore. -- Marion County authorities have arrested two more women in their investigation of animal neglect at a dog-rescue facility north of Salem.

Sheriff's spokesman Don Thomson said Saturday evening that Merissa Noonan contacted an attorney and surrendered at the county jail after seeing news reports that she was wanted.

The arrest came less than 24 hours after a deputy negotiated the surrender of Amanda Oakley through her attorney, whom authorities didn't identify. Oakley was a board member and secretary of Willamette Valley Animal Rescue until she resigned Jan. 10, three days before investigators executed a search warrant of the facility for hard-to-place dogs and seized about 150 animals, Thomson said.

Noonan, 21, and Oakley, 19, were booked into the county jail on 149 counts of misdemeanor animal neglect. Both remained in jail with bail for each set at $372,500. Their first court appearances were scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Alicia Inglish, the rescue facility's president, was arraigned Monday on 120 counts of animal neglect and one count of evidence tampering. Thomson said additional witnesses were being contacted and more arrests are possible.

The sheriff's office said most of the dogs seized from the facility were in poor condition: sickly and malnourished, and some with eyes sealed shut by body fluids. They were living on concrete floors with no bedding, and their cages had not been cleaned.

A message seeking comment was left Saturday at a phone number apparently connected to the rescue group.

An investigation began after authorities and the Humane Society got complaints that included allegations the dogs were often fed stale bread, the sheriff's office said.

The dogs are being treated for ringworm, mange, malnutrition, internal parasite infestations, eye infections and untreated bite wounds, Thomson said. One dog also suffers from an untreated leg fracture.

"We are pleased to report that the dogs seized last weekend are responding well to their treatment," Thomson said earlier Saturday. He added, however, that their recoveries are expected to be lengthy.

Following Inglish's arrest, a Salem man who volunteered at the facility for about two months told The Oregonian that the leaders would travel to a shelter in Porterville, Calif., where dogs were likely to be euthanized, and return with 80 at a time, hoping to rehabilitate them and find homes for them.