Three dogs are believed to have been illegally killed while boarded at an Angels Camp facility called the 'Pet Bath House,' according to the Angels Camp Police Department.
The department said the owner is a Butte Fire victim who lost his home and had to board his pets, initially they went to a facility in Valley Springs. The dogs remained in Valley Springs for 18 months, with their owner regularly visiting them, but police said he had to move them due to signs of kennel stress.
The three dogs were temporarily house with County Animal Services before eventually moving to the 'Pet Bath House' on June 21. Police said the owner paid in advance for their stay.
On June 29, the 'Pet Bath House' owner, 68-year-old Vonna Hughes, called the dogs' owner and said his pets got loose while in her care and were involved in a dog fight with another boarded dog. Hughes asked him to pay her for the related veterinary care bill, which he did.
A few days later, on July 1, the owner was told another dog fight occurred that caused injuries to other dogs and Hughes as well. The next day, Hughes told the three dogs' owner that they were "put down" due to their aggressive behavior.
Hughes told the owner that police were involved in the matter, but the Angels Camp Police Department said they became aware of the incident on July 4 when the owner reported to police that his dogs were illegally "put down."
A police investigation found Hughes provided false information County Animal Services, claiming the dogs in question were relinquished to the care and custody of their owner. Hughes was also allegedly deceptive in reporting the severity of the injuries she sustained while breaking up one of the dog fights.
Hughes initially told police that the dogs had turned loose, but officials later discovered she arranged for a third party to "take care" of the dogs. Police said the third party involved has been identified, and so far is uncooperative in this investigation.
The investigating officer believes the three dogs have been feloniously killed, but police said to this date the status or location of the dogs is unknown.
Hughes has been arrested and booked into the Calaveras County Jail on multiple charges related to animal cruelty, animal neglect, theft of an animal and conspiracy. The investigation is ongoing.