When Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies raided Waggin’ on Wiggle Butt Aussies, a dog breeding business in Madras, they found an inoperable water system and dogs eating piled-up feces.
The discoveries June 29 led to the arrest of breeder Cora Gooding on suspicion of animal neglect and the seizure of 57 of her Australian shepherds, including 19 puppies.
Gooding’s breeding business has operated at the site house since 2014, according to the state business registry. The kennel breeds toy, teacup and miniature-sized Aussies, which sell for between $2,000 and $15,000.
A court document written by Jefferson County’s animal control deputy describes substandard conditions at the ranch and a breeder increasingly in over her head as money grew tight.
On June 22, one of the ranch’s horse caretakers, Aimee Elverud, called Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to report a breeding female named Coco had died as a result of poor living conditions at Waggin’ on Wiggle Butt Aussies.
Three days later, Animal Control Deputy Steve Keever and a veterinarian spent five to six hours inspecting the property and allegedly observed numerous instances of lack of minimum care.
Keever learned Coco had fought with another dog that likely got into her kennel through a gap under its fence. She suffered a puncture wound on her back leg and the injury became infected with “Alabama Rot,” which causes damage to the blood vessels of the skin and kidneys and can lead to skin ulcers, acute kidney failure and death. The leg was amputated by a veterinarian, but Coco died the next day from complications.
“Aimee told me in essence that she could not handle the lack of medical care Coco was receiving,” Keever wrote.
Gooding had a kennel permit with Jefferson County from 2014 until 2018, when she failed to renew it. She was sent a letter from the sheriff’s office in 2019 telling her to renew for 2018 and 2019.
As the county’s animal control deputy, Keever performed regular inspections of Gooding’s property when she had a valid permit.
When he returned last month, Keever allegedly found conditions at the kennel had deteriorated.
“It is now at the point that it does not meet minimum care standards for breeders,” Keever wrote.
Among his observations:
• The water on the property had been shut off due to the power bill not being paid. Some of the dogs were being temporarily watered with five-gallon buckets. Keever noted one puppy was not able to get to its water bucket, and it would likely drown if it fell in.
• A half-bag of kibble was all that remained to feed all 57 dogs on the property. And the dogs weren’t being fed in bowls but rather on the ground.
“I noted the food was on the dirt spread out,” Keever wrote.
• The kennels were poorly designed so dogs could freely move to other enclosures by either digging under barriers or climbing over them. This led to dog fights, as was the case with Coco, the dog that died.
• The kennels offered inadequate shelter from the elements, Keever wrote. Most kennels contained “improper” dog houses with no flooring.
• The kennels hadn’t been cleaned of dog waste in five days.
“I saw the feces and the dogs were eating it,” Keever wrote.
An adult female escaped during the raid and was not seized, according to court documents.
The dogs were taken to Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras. They are not being adopted out because Gooding’s case is pending, and they still belong to her.
“The dogs are receiving very good care,” said operations manager Jerilee Drynan, declining to comment further due to Gooding’s pending case.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org