By Anita Kissee
TOLEDO, Wash. - A local dog breeder is under suspicion for neglect. She had more than 150 dogs along with other animals all living in what the county called "appalling" conditions.
"I am not hoarding animals," said the woman under investigation. She said that she is a breeder, not a hoarder.
However, authorities said they found 20 of the dogs so sick that they were taken to the animal shelter. One of the dogs died.
But the other dogs all remain at the property in rural Toledo. It's a town north of Longview in Lewis County, Wash. - just off Interstate 5.
Hahn moved to Lewis County from Oregon's Clackamas County after being investigated there because of similar allegations. She was never charged.
Now, in Lewis County, neighbors want to know why the county won't do anything about it. KATU's research turned up that the county may not be able to do anything about it at all.
In Lewis County there is no limit to the number of dogs you can have. Breeders - including Hahn - know that.
That's something neighbor Jerry Hirsch is fed up about. He said he is so mad that he put up a sign outside his home, "advertising" the person he believes is being cruel to animals across the street.
"There are times where there's upwards of 200 dogs there," Hirsch said. "You can't hear anything at night, the crickets the frogs nothing … and the smell when the weathers just right and the temperature...."
The breeder admits she keeps dogs: "About 100 is all we have here now," she said.
But the Lewis County sheriff said Theresa Hahn has had that many just inside her Toledo home, with dozens more chained up in the yard.
Authorities also told KATU they found feces all over the home. "There is not feces on my furniture, not all over home," Hahn said. "That is going overboard."
Hanh breeds Pomeranians and Labradors, and would not allow us inside to see the conditions.
"Not today," Hanh said when we asked to come inside. "It's just too much. I don't want to put them through that. It is seriously traumatizing to the dogs."
The Humane Society will be back to check things out in two weeks. Hahn can petition to get the dogs back and said she will be doing that for two of them. The other 17 could go up for adoption.
Lewis County is working to change its law. They also are counting on Washington's new puppy mill law that kicks in next year..." More & video