SANTA FE (KRQE) - The former veterinarian who became the target of a raid at the Edgewood house she was renting is now facing drug charges with additional counts of animal cruelty possible.
Forty-eight dogs of varying ages and conditions were seized during the Monday raid. All of those dogs are now at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter.
The shelter staff was given a few days warning to prepare for an influx of 30 to 50 dogs.
"They're going to be stressed out, there's no question about it," Suzanne Fuqua, the shelter's director of behavior and training, said of the dogs.
After a nearly month-long investigation, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office served a warrant at Debra Clopton's house allowing investigators to seize animals and anything that could be used to practice veterinary medicine. Deputies were assisted by Doña Ana County Animal Cruelty Task Force.
Deputies say Clopton's veterinary license was revoked a year ago , but she had Euthanol Euthanasia, a Schedule III controlled substance, in her possession. She was arrested on drug-related charges.
Clopton is no stranger to law enforcement. She has already been convicted of having too many dogs at her Rio Rancho home. More animals were found inside that home, which she had vacated, a couple of weeks ago.
The investigation in Edgewood is ongoing, and the 48 dogs are a part of it. It's unclear what their future is and how long they'll need to stay at the shelter.
"It's going to be very expensive for us," Fuqua said. "Extra work, extra shift time, overtime, supplies, medical supplies. It is definitely going to be a financial stressor for the shelter."
Deputies say these dogs may not be the only ones Clopton was taking care of. According to the criminal complaint, veterinary records, receipts and billing information were all found inside Clopton's home.
"We believe that she is practicing," Lt. William Pacheco with the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said. "Articles and items that we located in the residence gives us belief that she is still practicing veterinary medicine within that residence."
Anyone who might have taken their animals to Clopton is asked to contact the sheriff's office.
Clopton was in Santa Fe Magistrate Court on Tuesday for the drug charges. Her bond was set at $5,000 cash or surety.
Pacheco says animal cruelty charges could be forthcoming after the Doña Ana County Animal Cruelty Task Force veterinarian examines the dogs.
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