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Dozens of Pets Found Dead as Elderly Couple Arrested for Animal Abuse

Henderson Police Department
Henderson Police Department

A Las Vegas area couple in their 70s was arrested Friday on allegations they hoarded and neglected hundreds of animals, with police revealing they made the horrific discovery of 30 dogs—10 of which were dead—stuffed into a rented hotel room.

The arrests of Carolyn Luke, 72, and Timothy Miller, 79, became public Tuesday after multiple agencies shared the grisly details of their discoveries in multiple areas of the Las Vegas valley.

Police in Boulder City, Nevada, said they took the couple into custody after conducting a traffic stop on their car. The couple pulled over and rolled down their window for an officer, who said he could smell the stench of dead animals from outside the vehicle, police wrote in a news release.

“Our officers knew right away that something was wrong,” Lt. Thomas Healing said in a statement. The couple was detained and animal control authorities were called.

Inside their vehicle was 51 guinea pigs and rabbits, police said, with the animals stuffed into different plastic totes and luggage. Eleven guinea pigs were already dead, and another four from the car had died by Tuesday, police said.

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A subsequent search was conducted at their property, which housed 15 dogs in Spring Valley, and inside a hotel room in Summerlin, where the dozens of dogs were found to be malnourished or dead, police said.

Those who knew the couple have skewered them for the alleged abuse, including Megan Callahan, who said she met Luke through an animal rescue group.

“She needs help,” Callahan told KTNV. “She has something wrong with her. I just hope everyone can see who this person is and nobody ever sells her animals again.”

The differing jurisdictions of where the animals were found has complicated their rescue and the prosecution of the couple, but charging documents obtained by WFXR revealed that Boulder City police had charged them each with “knowing and willingly” placing 11 “animals in poor condition.” Boulder City PD wrote in a statement that it’d charged the couple with 11 counts each of “torture, injure, abandon, or starve an animal,” all of which are misdemeanors because it’s their first offense.

Sources told WFXR that the couple may be the subject of another animal cruelty probe that’s being investigated by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

An expert who spoke with Boulder City cops said that the veterinary cost to care for all of the impacted animals will be in the thousands. Police added that an exact number of impounded animals won’t be known for some time, as some of the surviving pets are pregnant.

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