RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - A former veterinarian already accused of being an animal hoarder, is linked to another disturbing case involving pets.
That woman was convicted in January of having more animals than the city allowed, all living at a home in Rio Rancho. On Sunday, repo-workers went to re-key that house, and found more than they bargained for.
Neighbors in the area told KRQE News 13 they were shocked to learn there were more cats left inside a home that no one's lived in for at least two months.
Animal Control and Rio Rancho police were called to the home on Sunday, and neighbors said it isn't the first time. "Its a good neighborhood, its just this problem house has put a damper on it but hopefully it'll be taken care of soon," said Elizabeth Edmondson, who lives near the home.
KRQE has reported on this case before . Debra Clopton, a former veterinarian who had her license revoked, was convicted of having too many animals than the five allowed in Rio Rancho, and not having licenses or rabies vaccinations. She also continued to treat sick animals without a license .
"I knew about the dogs because the dogs barked constantly," said Edmondson. Neighbors said Clopton had at least ten dogs, and that she moved out mid-January. Her house has since been repossessed.
But when repo-workers went to re-key the house and change the locks Sunday, neighbors said they found more animals inside. "They said that there were five cats that were in here, one that was almost dead, and they wanted to get the cats out today that way they could lock up and change the locks on the house," Emondson told KRQE.
Animal Control or Rio Rancho police couldn't comment yet, but neighbors said they saw them bring out a dead cat, and heard there are more, possibly crawling in the walls.
Edmondson said the house has always smelled from outside and when repo-workers went in Sunday afternoon, she claims they told her conditions were deplorable. "They said that its just horrible conditions, there's pet feces everywhere," said Edmondson.
"If they sell it, they'll probably have to gut it out and start just from the framework on up to rebuild the house, its that bad in there."
Neighbors said since Clopton moved out, they've seen her son drop by about once a week to grab personal items, and were shocked to learn there were several cats left inside.
"I mean with her being a former veterinarian, you would think she would know better, but she doesn't have a conscience it doesn't seem like," said Edmondson. "Its a sad situation, but this is animal abuse and I'd like to see her be held accountable for her actions."
Repo-workers wouldn't comment on the case Sunday, except to say they were there to secure the home. Rio Rancho Police said they'd likely have more information Monday.
In January, KRQE reported Clopton was fined $740 and given 23 hours community service for Animal Control violations, including ten counts of unlicensed animals, and two counts of having more animals than permitted. The state veterinary board revoked her license.
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