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Dogs seized from Pahrump home after allegedly terrorizing neighbors

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Dogs seized from Pahrump home after allegedly terrorizing neighbors

By Darcy Spears. CREATED Aug 29, 2014

Pahrump, NV (KTNV) -- A pack of dogs terrorizing a neighborhood, running wild and making people feel like prisoners in their own homes.

It's all going down in Pahrump and it got so bad that authorities had to move in with a warrant.

One by one, dogs were taken out of the Pahrump property owned by local Attorney Nancy Lord. Contact 13 was there Tuesday as she challenged authorities, who told her they had a warrant.

"I understand that, but the warrant, there was no hearing to take my property. I'm on my way to the courthouse."

Authorities seized 21 dogs, including six puppies, from Lord's house and a second location where they said she tried to hide some of them. Animal control said they'll be seizing more once they find the dogs that ran into the desert after Lord let them out during the round up.

The seizure wasn't easy.

"As you can see we've got pretty large animals here and they've not been handled, so they're a little bit on the aggressive side," said Nye County Emergency Management Director Vance Payne.

He said most of the animals haven't been spayed or neutered so they continuously inbreed. He said some don't have their rabies shots either. Payne said Lord recently backed out of a deal to start giving up her dogs.

"The property owner has already received quite a number of citations but this was like the straw that broke the camel's back. This past weekend, the community was absolutely terrorized by the animals running at large and the DA, our department, the judge, in collaboration agreed we had to put a stop to this," Payne explained.

Neighbors said they've been trying to get animal control to put a stop to it for two years.

"All hours of the night. They start from five in the morning, barking and howling, until 9-10 at night just barking, going nuts. There's constantly packs getting out of her fence," said Terry Salyer.

"We used to love to sit out here, me and my husband, and we'd watch the satellites and we'd look for shooting stars, but when you've got, you know, [the dogs barking]. I mean, it's insane over there," said Betty Petaros.

Petaros lives across the street, "We're kept up all night. We cannot sleep."

She worries about neighborhood children and her husband fears walking the family dogs.

"He would be confronted with packs of 12-15 dogs, and coming straight at you. It's a very frightening situation."

Animal control estimates there's somewhere between 30-70 dogs on the property, and that's way too many. In Nye County, you're only allowed five dogs without special permits. Lord has none. She wouldn't talk to us on Tuesday, but held a press conference Friday afternoon.

"This is about deadly force being used in a situation of loose dogs who were not even loose at the time. Troopers being allowed to come onto a property with a warrant obtained under false pretext and lasso innocent, tame, friendly and sweet dogs and kill two of them," Lord said.

Animal control said no dogs were killed or harmed in any way and the warrant is proper. Lord admits the dogs have gotten out and scared neighbors, but points out her efforts to keep them contained.

"I understand it's a problem. We worked as hard as we could. We changed the fence, we put pallets up, we were doing everything we could."

She said she hasn't gotten any permits to keep more dogs than the law allows because of what the permits require, "To allow searches of my home, the inside of home, every year to get re-permitted."

Animal control got inside her home when they served the warrant and they said conditions were horrible, including floors covered in feces.

A stack of documents shows Lord's history with the law on paper. In May, she pleaded guilty to animals running at large, and pleaded no contest to animal cruelty involving one of her horses so authorities would dismiss other charges dealing with her dogs.

She was found guilty and fined $640, which she hasn't paid.

The dogs are all safe in protective custody at the Nye County Animal Shelter, and that's where they'll stay as the case makes its way through court. It's a case we will be closely following.

Darcy Spears

Darcy Spears

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Darcy Spears is currently the Chief Investigative Reporter for Action News.