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Alleged Breeder in Animal Cruelty Case Pleads Not Guilty on Monday

LEWISTON – Debra Groseclose, the alleged hoarder in the toy poodle situation handled by Helping Hands Rescue and Idaho Animal Rescue Network, plead not guilty to her misdemeanor charge of Animal Protection – Cruelty, Killing, or Mistreating Animals on Monday, July 18.

This case first came to the attention of the Lewiston Animal Cruelty Unit the week of July 4. Janie, one of the community’s outstanding code enforcement officers came at this case with full force with the intent to save every life. In total, 22 poodles were rescued.

Photos of the poodles broke the hearts of many showing the mats so tight around their skin, movement was restricted. There was so much filth and feces clumped in their fur, it could drag on the ground.

“This is the kind of stuff they are dealing with,” Idaho Animal Rescue Network said in a Facebook post. “It’s not just a matter of shaving these dogs and giving them a bath. There’s so much more veterinary care involved. And the amount of compassion involved is immeasurable.”

Photo of one of the poodles when they first arrived at the Vet Hospital.
Photo of one of the poodles when they first arrived at the Vet Hospital.

Both Helping Hands and Idaho Animal Rescue Network took to social media searching for help, and the community came through faster than the rescues could have expected.

“We are absolutely amazed at the outpouring of support from our community for the 22 poodles from the local breeder/hoarder,” Helping Hands said in a Facebook post. “We are able to pay most of the vet bill from the donations! We received monetary donations, food, toys, beds. Anything that these dogs could need! We want to thank everyone who offered to foster and adopt! We have at least 55 adoption applications to plow through to find them their perfect homes.”

Before and after photos of the sweet faces hidden under the pain-filled matting warmed community members’ hearts seeing a bright future ahead for each poodle.

However, the fight is far from over. The rescues are using this as a teaching opportunity to community members. They explained that horrifying breeding situations like this are happening right here in the valley.

“Think of these dogs when you pay a premium price for a designer dog from a pet shop,” Helping Hands Rescue said. “These are the parents. The pictures are just a few of the 13 we took in yesterday. They will be shaved, spayed/neutered, and vaccinated. These dogs are very nice dogs and I truly believe they are grateful for their rescue. We hope they will be adopted and be able to live a normal happy and healthy life for the rest of their years.”

Idaho Animal Rescue Network explained they believe Idaho needs tougher laws when it comes to animal welfare so that law enforcement and prosecutors can do more in these bone-chilling situations.

“We are extremely fortunate that we have a police department, prosecutors, and an Animal Cruelty Unit in our area that is proactive,” Idaho Animal Rescue Network said. “I don’t think many other places in Idaho can say that. So while this case is enraging on many levels, you have to remember that many of them are frustrated as well. It’s okay to be pissed off, but direct it to the right people.”

IARN encourages community members to ask questions and to stay up to date with their Facebook page as they may do a live chat this week to discuss more.

“I think it’s important to have a dialogue,” IARN said. “There are a lot of eyes on this case.”