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El Dorado County resident, Sandra Tidwell, 50, of El Dorado Hills, has pled guilty and was sentenced this week on felony animal cruelty charges, in a case where multiple dogs were exposed to inhumane conditions and severe neglect. The guilty plea was entered in El Dorado County Superior Court on February 14, 2023, and sentencing completed on March 14, 2023. The neglected animals involved in this case were removed by El Dorado County Animal Services and given shelter and needed medical care.
"No animal should have to endure what these poor dogs endured," said El Dorado County Animal Services Chief, Henry Brzezinski. "Thankfully, we were able to intervene on their behalf, assist them, and bring resolution to this case."
According to Brzezinski, after executing a search warrant in July 2022, Animal Services officers found 25 German Shepherd and Husky breed dogs living in deplorable conditions, including 15 adult dogs and ten puppies at Tidwell's property where she was illegally keeping the animals inside her 1,200 square foot home. "Feces and urine were evident throughout the entire residence, and several of the dogs were confined to crates or areas of the home laden with feces and urine, where the dogs were unable to get out of their own waste," said Brzezinski. "Several of the dogs were also malnourished, loaded with parasites, suffering with dirty matted fur and overgrown nails, and showed signs of injury due to literally fighting with the other dogs in the room for food." A veterinarian accompanied Animal Services officers on the search, and the animals were subsequently removed for needed medical care and shelter by the officers. The dogs were cared for and housed at the County's animal shelter awaiting adjudication.
Tidwell, who claimed to be a legitimate animal rescue group that she called Sierra Nevada German Shepherd Rescue, was conducting her operations illegally and without a license. Due to her conviction on felony animal cruelty charges, Tidwell was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 250 hours of community service. "In addition, and as part of her sentencing, she will be unable to possess any animals for ten years, and she cannot be involved with any animal welfare group including 501(c)3's," said investigating Animal Services Officer, Jessica Rorick. "Tidwell has relinquished ownership of the animals who have been cared for at Animal Services since July 2022 and must pay restitution for the cost of that care. This includes the cost of the medical care for the animals." Tidwell will also be subject to search and seizure terms, must complete counselling, and notify Animal Services within 48 hours of any change of address.
"These poor dogs suffered at the hands of this individual," said Brzezinski. "Calling herself a rescue was a disgrace. Thankfully, she will no longer have animals in her possession. A special thanks goes to District Attorney Vern Pierson and Deputy District Attorney Ryan Whyte for their support and prosecution of this case."
According to Brzezinski, once the dogs involved in this case have been cleared by the Animal Services' veterinarian and are ready for adoption, pictures and information will be posted to the El Dorado County Animal Services' website: https://www.edcgov.us/Government/AnimalServices/Pages/animal_services_main_info.aspx
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