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Couple in animal neglect case gets 30 days, community service

Liz Kellar
Staff writer
One of the horses seized from the Gore residence on Auburn Road.
Submitted photo |

A local couple facing animal cruelty charges were sentenced Monday to 30 days in county jail, which was stayed pending positive reports from county Animal Control officers, and 100 hours of community service.

Sara Gore had been facing five felony counts and subsequently pleaded no contest to two of the counts; Charles “Tim” Gore had pleaded no contest to one count.

A complaint about a dead goat reportedly prompted the investigation that ended with eight animals being seized from the Gores’ Auburn Road property in September 2013. A Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control officer had responded to the report of a goat carcass, and the Gores agreed to call a company that specializes in the removal of dead animals. When the person from the removal company arrived at the property, the Gores also requested the removal of a dead horse.

Animal Control subsequently was called for a welfare check on a very emaciated horse still on the property. The officer and a vet tried to load the horse into a trailer, but it balked repeatedly and eventually dropped, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing into the evidence in Nevada County Superior Court. The horse could not get back on its feet and was euthanized. Both dead horses reportedly only weighed about 520 pounds. Animal Control officers and sheriff’s deputies later returned to the property and removed two mules, three burros, a goat and two mustangs.

At the Gores’ sentencing, which was attended by local animal activists, Deputy District Attorney Ray De Jesus told Nevada County Superior Court Judge Tom Anderson that had they taken their responsibilities to their animals more seriously, the two horses would still be alive.

“The key word here is callous,” De Jesus said, saying such severe malnutrition could not happen overnight.

Sara Gore’s attorney, Stephen Munkelt, said the couple did not withhold care from their animals, adding, “It’s a mystery why these animals stopped thriving,” and conceding they should have been more aggressive about pursuing veterinary advice.

Charles Gore’s public defender, Jody Schutz, noted there was a discrepancy in the relative conditions of different animals at the property.

Anderson noting the Gores’ lack of prior neglect complaints or criminal history, agreed to reduce the charges faced by the Gores to misdemeanors.

“The case is somewhat problematic,” he said. “…Their omission was to not stay in touch with a vet.”

Anderson sentenced the Gores each to 30 days in county jail, but stayed the jail time pending positive reports from Animal Control. They each must perform 100 hours of community service, to be completed by May 1. He added his preference would be for them to work with a local animal group, but noted that would probably not be feasible or likely.

The Gores will be on summary probation for three years with search and seizure terms. They are not allowed to own any non-domesticated animals such as livestock; any household pets such as dogs will need to be approved by Animal Control. Any potential program on animal care was postponed pending a report on current conditions at the Gore property by Animal Control.

Dog hoarder sentencing delayed

The sentencing for an alleged dog hoarder who pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty and being a person prohibited from having a firearm was postponed because his attorney could not make the court date.

Gary Dean Perkins, 53, had been charged in November 2013 after Nevada County Sheriff’s Animal Control officers seized more than 30 dogs from a parcel on the 16000 block of Bear Trap Springs Road, where Perkins reportedly was squatting.

Animal Control officers had testified that many of the dogs had clearly visible spines and ribs. On an initial visit, officers found five empty bags of dog food, with no receptacles for feeding and no accessible water. Five dead dogs and five live dogs were found on a subsequent visit, and necropsies reportedly revealed the dead animals died of starvation.

Perkins faces a maximum state prison sentence of three years and eight months, but the probation department reportedly has recommended a one-year sentence. Perkins was set for sentencing Monday, but his attorney, Greg Klein, was unable to appear. The sentencing was re-scheduled for Nov. 10.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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