Sled dogs reunited with their owner awaiting animal cruelty trial in Livingston

LIVINGSTON — New developments involving an animal cruelty investigation at Livingston.

It was quite an emotional day here at Stafford Animal Shelter as several dogs were taken from their foster homes and returned to their owners.

Sled dogs reunited with their owner awaiting animal cruelty trial in Livingston

“I haven’t slept since two in the morning this past week. It’s incredibly traumatic for us to have to send these dogs back at this time,” said Jacquie Love, one of the foster families.

In May 2020, MTN News first reported that 17 sled dogs were found on a property in Paradise Valley, with one of the dogs dead and another to be euthanized. Fifteen dogs were brought to Stafford where they were placed with foster families.

“I ended up bringing home two of the older dogs, who were pretty tough when I brought them home here,” said Shannon Ongaro, another foster parent. “One of them was alive for about a month before he died, and the second died about 3 months, three and a half months after.

But on February 5, District Judge Gilbert ordered that the dogs be returned to their owner, Ice Fox, pending trial on animal cruelty charges, of which he claims he is innocent.

“Most of the time I think you know being dead is better than that and I know it’s a lot cheaper,” Ice Fox said. “I don’t know who these people are, but maybe they’re starting to figure out who the hell I am.”

According to the judge’s decision, one of the factors considered by the court was the availability of funds to provide treatment, housing and care for the animal. The shelter billed the county more than $51,000 for care from May through December 2020.

“It’s unreal,” Ice Fox said. “It’s amazing. There were many times when I didn’t think this day would come.”

Foster families hoped for a different outcome but remain hopeful.

“We have filed a motion with the court to reconsider this decision, and we hope the judge will determine that it is best for the animals to stay with their foster families or the shelter for the duration of the trial,” Ongaro said. .

A hearing will be held on March 8 to set a trial date for the animal cruelty charges.

Bette C. Alvarado