The sheriff shows up (9/10)

Macy M1839 views

**Trigger warnings still stand: If you’re easily bothered by things such as suicide, rape, child abuse, animal neglect, sex trafficking, narcissist behavior, and maybe some other related topics, you should skip these posts. It’s not my regular happy-go-lucky sort of deal. Previous posts here: (1/10) (2/10)(3/10) (4/10) (5/10) (6/10) (7/10) (8/10)**

They are looking for Coco

Two deputies knock at our door. Three dogs were dumped in the next state over. They had heard that they may be the dogs that lived uphill. The ones who had the welfare checks called on them multiple times. Coco is not home at the time so I talk with them. They start asking me pointed questions. I am giving them all the answers they already kind of know. Then, they ask if I recognize the dogs in their pictures. It’s Brownie, Odin and LJ, some of the same dogs that once terrorized our family. Only now, they are skin and bones. I identify the dogs for them, and they leave.

Then I realize those dogs from earlier that she loaded, the one’s I didn’t recognize at all and assumed were new puppies, were in fact these dogs. I knew them as big, strong, obnoxious dogs. These were scrawny, frail and broken pups in the photos.

In a bit, another patrol car comes out. Only three of the seven dogs are located, they are coming back to try to find the others. I ask them to please look for a sheep too, and point out it’s pen again. They walk uphill to look for the remaining four dogs.

Coco drives up

She stops dead in her tracks. For a couple minutes, she seems to contemplate leaving. She still can’t get up to her house because of snow and now there is a patrol car on our driveway where she normally parks, too. The deputies are about halfway up. She decided to continue forward and pulls up behind their vehicle. Right in front of our home. She gets out and continues to stand in front of her car for a few minutes, looking uphill, trying to figure out what’s up.

Seeing her, the deputies return. Then they have an altercation, right in our yard. She’s yelling at them about something. They are discussing something with her. She ends up walking up the hill to get the remaining dogs.

While she is there, the deputies come ask me more questions

Apparently she has told them that the other dogs ran away a long time ago. I confirm that we have been suspicious for months that she is mistreating them and they have had several welfare checks. They again have me identify the animals found. I identify them and describe the four who are still missing. I also show them the texts from the previous days where she says she is ‘handling these dogs she’s not responsible for’.

She walks down the hill with two of the unaccounted for animals. Lady and Mocha, the two she had when she started the relationship with Hawg. The other five were his dogs or dogs they had gotten together. The two dogs she brings down look healthy weight. She stands by her story that the three dogs that turned up and the other two that are unaccounted for, ran away a long time ago. They let her go.

It felt like the deputies were believing her

She leaves. I went down to talk to them again, I told them how tricky she can be and that she’s very good at saying the right things while doing exactly the opposite. I mention that we have a surveillance camera that we put up when things started escalating. We had expected they would break into our barn to steal our stuff for drug money. Unfortunately, we look and it ran out of batteries JUST before she walked the second group of dogs down. We didn’t have any video footage to share (such a bummer because she would have been on it!). I did share the events of the previous days and her text messages to us about ‘having to handle the dogs’.

In the meantime, the other two animals turn up, together. Also across state lines, but in a different town. Also skin and bones.

Again, I tell the officers about a potential sheep who has been neglected, too. They never made it all the way uphill to look. They take my phone number and some notes, then leave.

A couple hours later another set of deputies show up, park at our house and walk up the hill to look for this sheep.

They find the sheep!

The deputies come down and confirm there is in fact a sheep up there. It’s still alive. They gave it some hay and said ‘someone will be out to get it soon.’

No one ever came to get the sheep.

A random Facebook message

I get a random message on Facebook from someone named Mary (again, fake name to protect Ava). I have seen the person before, based on her picture. She is one of the random sketchy people who has been all over our property. One of the women who came to the bonfire parties the previous fall.

The messages just asks me to tell the deputies I know those dogs when they ask. I now know this person is a friend of Coco’s. Tempted as I am to ignore it and move on with life, curiosity got the best of me. I message back, “I’m not sure what you’re asking, are you asking me to speak up on Coco’s behalf?” She messages back “No speak up on the behalf of the dogs! Coco neglected those dogs!”

I converse with this individual further

My goal is to help Ava. Mary confirms that she snuck up through our property, lights off, the previous nights because she wanted to check on the animals. It was common for our dog to go ballistic in the middle of the night, and he did then. We had long suspected people were sneaking through our property at night, this wasn’t a surprise. I was somewhat relieved they weren’t doing it maliciously necessarily.

She had a falling out with Coco, her previous best friend. Apparently her house is where Coco and Ava were staying until the coldest week of winter when they moved back uphill. She had apparently spoken up against Coco for Ava’s benefit, and was cut off and told to never speak to Ava again. Same thing she said to us. Mary has known Ava from birth apparently and has been a close friend her whole life. She told me all the things I already knew: Coco moved in with a violent child sex offender, Ava is in danger, she has neglected the dogs, almost to death. And if the sheep doesn’t get help soon it will die. It’s apparently alive, but barely.

She then sent me pictures

The living conditions up the hill were horrendous. Coco had not dumped trash in months, it was stacked, lining the walls. The dogs were locked inside the mobile home and never let out to pee or poop. They were given snow, in a bucket, for water. Two of the seven were fed, the two that belonged to Coco before the relationship started with Hawg. The other five were locked in a small laundry room and starved. The house was scratched to oblivion throughout with dogs wanting out. The floor was COATED in feces. Trash was stacked on every surface. Walls were spray painted for good measure.

I could not believe this was the conditions that sweet girl was forced to live in over a brutal winter. It was deplorable.

My Responsibility

Before this I had suspicions and no way to prove them. Now there was proof. I had to speak up. And louder if I really wanted anyone to hear.

I knew I had to help the sheep. The dogs case was not being taken seriously, I wanted to help that. I knew the little girl was in constant danger. Also, I knew I was one of the only witnesses to all of these atrocities.

I feared retaliation. Feared for my own families safety to take the next steps.

We had been living on eggshells anyway around this woman, so I just went all in.

Child Protective Services

The next morning I called CPS, again. I wanted to get an update on the case I had reported on. To that point they had not seen fit to follow up more than with the mother to ask her if she needed anything. I impressed upon them that the mother IS the problem, they need to check on the child.

To that point I had asked to stay anonymous, fearing Coco’s retaliation. I feel like my anonymity was making it easer for them to just not follow up. Pushing forward meant going on the record. So I did.

I sent them the pictures I was sent of the living conditions, screenshots of facebook posts of Coco living with this new sex offender, his registry information along with my concerns about the child being trafficked by her mother for drugs. I sent them a statement and implored they look closer at the mother in this situation.

Valentines day

Very shortly after, on Valentines day, Coco comes RIPPING up our driveway. I figured this was the retaliation. Turns out the new SO boyfriend broke it off with Coco. I suspect because it complicated his parole to also be living with a minor. This boyfriend is a long haul trucker and would be gone for a while then back. They pretty clearly kept up a relationship for a while after Valentines day, they just kept it more clandestine.

Ava was removed from her custody

After I sent the photographs and went on the record as the reporter, Ava was removed from Coco’s custody, seemingly overnight. She went to live with her god parents for a short time while the state set up the legal processes to get her to better long term housing.

Her biological father now has custody. He lives about six hours away and has not been given the opportunity to know his daughter at all. Coco deemed him such a ‘garbage person’. It’s a brand new situation for them both. He does have a wife and other children so now Ava get’s to live in a neighborhood, with siblings, a dad and a step mom. Via Mary’s report to me, she has a new school and is making friends. By all accounts she is doing very well and is back to her joyful self.

Their court case for custody is ongoing but Coco has apparently not shown up to a single hearing. There are reports of her trying to weasel around the court’s systems to manipulate Ava further, though. The important part is that Ava is currently being given time and space to try to heal. Finally!

The first thing Ava’s dad did was get her a good attorney. The second thing he did was get her a good therapist.

The first thing the therapist did was get a no contact order against Coco. They are working on unraveling that ball. I have so much belief that Ava is capable of overcoming these betrayals, she’s a clever girl with a lot of ambition.

Sheep Rescue

The sheriffs never did come back and get the sheep. They apparently turned over custody legally to Hawg. Hawg was not allowed on the property, legally. So they decided to turn custody over to a guy who could not legally provide for the animal. **eye-roll**

As soon as legal action for dog neglect was pointed at Coco, and CPS placed Ava in protected housing, she left town for a few weeks. She, went with her (still) boyfriend on one of his long hauls. No one was feeding the sheep. Mary made a few trips out to feed him.

Eventually, I texted Hawg to ask about the him and get permission to go on his property to help it. He agreed. I had a friend volunteer to take in the sheep. We conspired to give him his best life after all he had been through. I updated Hawg about the arrangement and he wanted to be paid $175 for the sheep. I was willing to pay the price to get him to safety. But instead I used my bartering skills to kick back that my offer was to get him to safety so he can have a good life, not to buy the neglected sheep. Hawg agreed it was for the best.

We collected the sheep

The kids, James and I walked up and rescued the sheep. I made a halter for him and googled how to handle sheep. I didn’t know what to expect. The poor guy was in to poor of shape to fight anything though. We didn’t know how long it would take to get him the 1/4 mile downhill. So we went up early in the morning just in case it took a while. That way my friend could come grab him on her break. We ended up plopping him on a sled and taking him for a ride downhill so it was pretty fast.

Then we just hung out and played a little with him.

He had funneled all of his herd needs into a ball that Coco’s friend, Mary, had given him. It was his best friend and he was happy so long as he was with his ball. In the rescue we kind of fell in love with how sweet he was. The poor guy learned to trust us and dare say enjoyed our company for the short few hours we spent with him.

Unfortunately it was too late

He was in very poor shape, his hair would fall in clumps, he had lost his voice, probably from all that baa-ing las fall. His skin looked like he had sores all over and he was bloated and much, MUCH lower weight than a sheep his breed and age should be. Typically he would be 250-300 pounds. He weighed less than a 35 pound bag of dog food.

It was just too much for the poor guy. He got a couple of really great days at his new home and then his body just gave out on him. Upon further investigation after death, it makes no sense why he was able to stay alive so long. I think he was just in survival mode and when he started coming out of it, his body just couldn’t take it. We think he had a heart attack. But he had a couple of really good days in the end. I will always be glad my friend was able to give that to him!

Coco drives up

After not seeing Coco for weeks, she actually drove up the lane, mid sheep rescue, while we had her sheep in our driveway. It was the most awkward timing ever. She stopped dead in her tracks and backed up, all the way down the driveway, leaving. I think she was surprised to see the sheep. Surprised he made it through the winter alive. I also think she was scared to face us, and face what she did to that poor guy. Later texted her that we were given the go-ahead to rescue him after all he’s been through.

She texted back that “she’s going to be at the property to collect her things, she has no desire to fight with us and she’d like us to leave her alone.” That was fine with me.

I wish that had been our last contact with her.

Dog Neglect

I followed up with the sheriff’s office on the animal neglect case and asked if the sheep was going to be accounted for in it. No response was received from the deputies. I honestly just didn’t feel like they were handling it as diligently as the animals deserved. So I contacted the state prosecuting attorney saying that I am a witness and I am afraid these animals are not getting justice.

The PA made the deputies follow up with me to get my statements. So I wrote an 18 page statement on the dogs behalf. I wrote another 10 pages on the sheep’s behalf. Just like with CPS, I decided to go on the record and be persistent in my advocating. I want them to know this is something that matters to people. Even people who were not directly effected. We need to hope people accountable for animal and people neglect!

Coco was prosecuted

They were charging her with two counts of animal neglect. One for 5 dogs, another for the sheep. After many months of a not guilty plea she was offered a plea deal. She plead guilty to one of the charges, they dropped the other. I honestly figured that was the best case. Idaho sucks at animal rights.

She collected a misdemeanor, was sentenced to 6 days community service, fined $160 and allowed to keep her remaining two dogs. (Seriously, we can do better Idaho). I think she would have got off completely if I hadn’t been irritating.

She’s since dumped another dog

She has since had her long haul trucker SO boyfriend, drop one of the dogs (Mocha) off somewhere on the backroads in the US. Somewhere that she can’t be traced back to here I’m betting. Now that she has a misdemeanor though, any neglect she causes in the future will be a felony charge. So long as someone is willing to advocate for an animal against an aggressive narcissist.

The one she kept, Lady, belongs to her daughter. I hear she is using the dog as a bargaining chip to get face time with Ava. Regardless of the no contact order.

Part of me feels bad for Coco

I cannot imagine my kids being removed from my custody. It has to be the hardest thing ever to go through. I fully believe it is in the daughters best interest though, and probably should have happened a LONG time ago. Maybe that’s why Coco hasn’t showed up to any of they custody hearings, too. But gosh, that would sting too for Ava, to not even be wanted enough to show up.

LJ, Marley, Odin, Brownie and Junior

In March, Hawg took a plea deal and plead guilty to one of the two charges of sexual assault of a minor and felon in possession of a firearm in return for a lesser sentence. The five neglected dogs were released to Hawg’s custody regardless of his ongoing prosecution and looming prison sentence. *sigh*

Since he was still legally removed from the property, the dogs lived in his moms backyard, in town. He worked on their recovery and got them all back to stable weights. I would argue they were still neglected, being left out in the cold while skin and bones. I am still frustrated they were released to him instead of allowed to find better homes at the shelter when they were picked up.

Sentancing

Even though he plead guilty in March, they didn’t set his sentencing hearing until the end of June. Once he was able to legally remove Coco from the property on April 8th, he started the process of moving back in up the hill. Through all of this we had placed distance between us and Hawg but we didn’t know how the accusations would pan out. We kept things cordial in the case charges were dropped and he moved back in.

At this point though, he’s on his way to prison, but also moving back in… There is nothing scarier than being on the wrong side of someone with nothing else to lose.

That’s exactly where we found ourselves though…

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