The SPCA for Monterey County is taking care of 17 neglected animals rescued at a pet adoption event on Saturday and is also preparing a possible criminal case against the alleged caretaker, a spokeswoman said today.

“We’re taking very good care of them,” SPCA community outreach director Beth Brookhouser said of the 14 dogs and puppies, two birds and one kitten who were taken into protective custody at an adoption event hosted by a PetSmart Inc. store in Sand City, near Monterey.

The animals are being cared for at the SPCA’s headquarters in Salinas.

Brookhouser said the dogs, including Australian shepherds, Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, Pomeranians and cockatiels, are being placed in special dips to treat scabies, fleas and other skin infections they contracted.

The dogs were also thin, she said, while the two birds were hungry, housed inhumanely and suffering from feather loss.

Brookhouser said the animals were allegedly brought to the adoption event by Crystal Kisicki, who runs a group called St. Francis All Creature Rescue and Sanctuary and uses addresses in Dunlap (Fresno County), Glendale and Squaw Valley.

The spokeswoman said SPCA humane officers, who are trained and sworn as peace officers, are currently preparing a case to submit to the county district attorney’s office for possible criminal charges against Kisicki.
SPCA Captain of Humane Investigation Stacie McGrady said she and her staff are planning to propose charges of permitting animals to go without care, animal cruelty and transporting animals in a cruel manner.

McGrady said she hopes to submit the proposed charges on Friday. It will be up to the district attorney’s office to decide which, if any, charges to file against Kisicki.

Brookhouser said the 17 rescued animals are considered possible evidence and can’t be adopted until any criminal charges filed are resolved.

The investigation began when a woman who bought a puppy from Kisicki for $500 at another adoption event at a Petco store in Monterey the previous weekend took the puppy to a veterinarian after the animal began having coughing fits, severe itching and hair loss. The vet found the puppy suffered from scabies and fleas and was very thin, Brookhouser said.

A second owner victim arrived at last Saturday’s PetSmart event while police were still there, she said. The man said he had also bought a puppy from Kisicki at the Petco event the previous weekend, and the dog turned out to be suffering from several skin diseases.

The man and his wife both contracted scabies from the puppy, Brookhouser said.

Brookhouser said the SPCA is concerned that additional adopted animals may need veterinary treatment.

People who think they have adopted a pet from Kisicki are asked to call the SPCA at (831) 273-2631.
In addition, Brookhouser urged, “Always report animal cruelty and neglect when you see something that does not look right, even if the person claims to be a rescue group.”

The SPCA for Monterey County is an independent nonprofit group that is not affiliated with the national American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or with Monterey County.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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