Several newborn puppies were found dead at the El Dorado dog pound after thieves broke into the facility earlier this week and stole five dogs, one of whom was reportedly in labor at the time.
Charles Hartsell, the city’s contracted dog control officer, told police that the break-in occurred shortly before 10 p.m. on Nov. 26.
A portion of the incident was captured on surveillance video, with the footage abruptly ending when the suspects ripped down the surveillance camera, Hartsell said.
Surveillance video showed four males, all wearing hoodies, entering the rear of the property at 711 Martin Luther King before the camera was pulled from its mount.
Hartsell said all of the dogs that were stolen were pit bulls that had been removed last month from two houses near the city pound because of multiple violations, including animal cruelty, no vaccination tags, and inhumane condition of pen and premises, meaning that dogs were kept on chains.
A pregnant, red-and-white pit bull was taken from the residence at 1017 Wilson on Oct. 9.
Hartsell said the dog was giving birth when it was stolen from the city pound.
He said the suspects cut four fences — one surrounding the dog pound and three in the dog enclosures — to get to the dogs.
He said six puppies were found dead inside the pen in which the pregnant dog had been housed, adding that the puppies appeared to have just been born.
Two other puppies were found dead on the ground outside the pen.
The other four pit bulls that were stolen had been removed on Oct. 9 from the residence at 601 Louisiana, which is across the street from the Wilson Street residence, Hartsell said.
Two of the four dogs were white, one was brindle with cut ears, and the other was black and white.
Hartsell said he and another animal control employee spotted a puppy in the road on Wilson as they were leaving the dog pound on Oct. 9.
When they picked up the puppy, Hartsell said they saw two other loose dogs in the area, and the discovery led them to the two properties in the area of Wilson and Louisiana.
“We had had problems in that area before,” Wilson said. “We picked up eight dogs that day. Three of them were claimed. The others were not.”
Raysean O’Guinn, of 601 Louisiana, was cited for dog at large, two counts of no vaccination tags and animal cruelty.
Hartsell said the four pit bulls that were removed from the residence belonged to O’Guinn and other family members.
During an appearance in 35th Judicial District Court on Nov. 13, O’Guinn pleaded guilty to the charges of dog at large and no vaccination, and he entered a not guilty plea on the animal cruelty charge.
Sandra Evans, of 1017 Wilson, was cited for no vaccination tags and inhumane condition of pen and premise.
Hartsell said Evans did not show for her Nov. 13 court date, and a warrant has been issued for her arrest for failure to appear.
The charges levied against Evans and O’Guinn are misdemeanors.
Capt. Kevin Holt, public information officer of the El Dorado Police Department, said detectives are investigating the break-in and theft at the city pound.
“We turned it over to the (Criminal Investigative Division) because of the breaking or entering, and it is a felony,” Holt said. “They’re following up on it and analyzing those (surveillance) videos.”
Hartsell and Holt encouraged anyone with any knowledge about the suspects and anyone who sees any of the dogs that were stolen from the city pound to call Hartsell at 870-310-4245, EPD detectives at 870-881-4810 or Crime Stoppers at 870-863-INFO (4636).
“We just want to know where those dogs are. We found eight puppies dead. She could have had more,” Hartsell said.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.