Iron Range Woman Faced With Animal Cruelty Charges Cries Out

By KBJR News 1

September 28, 2011 Updated Sep 29, 2011 at 2:31 PM CDT

ORR, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---For the first time the owner of the 38 Siberian Huskies, found malnourished near the Ash River Trail last week, speaks out saying the charges against her are unfair.

For the past week, 36 pure-bred Siberian Huskies have been regaining strength at an animal shelter after being taken from their owner pending charges of malnourishment and animal cruelty.

"They are doing remarkable," Alyssa Garcia, Animal Control Officer for the City of Hibbing said. "They are doing better than we could have ever imagined. They are coming out of their shells; they are starting to get their personalities. They are just doing really, really good."

Meanwhile the dog's owner, 59-year old Deborah Anne Boucha has been struggling to cope with the loss of what she calls her best friends.

"They have never been away from me," Boucha said. "No one else has ever cared for them; it has solely been me. And they will never, ever be connected with anyone such as myself."

Officials came to Boucha's home after receiving a note, indicating that she and the dogs were starving.

Authorities say they found the Siberian Huskies chained up throughout the yard with little food.

Two of the dogs were reportedly in such desperate condition that they had to be euthanized on the scene.

Boucha explains the malnourishment saying she had been cutting back on the dog's food rations while waiting for a feed delivery from her butcher for nearly four weeks.

She says she always fed her dogs the highest quality dog food.

"The dogs had emergency feed but they lost weight, I will stress because I did not want to use the full amount of feed for fear that they would run totally out, and for sure die," Boucha said.

Criminal charges are still pending the results of several medical tests conducted by the Range Regional Animal Rescue.

A bond of $8,700 has been set for Boucha to get the dogs out of the shelter. The amount is based on the costs of keeping the animals in the shelter the veterinarian bills to treat the dogs.

But the dogs won't be released to her care at any cost until a judge rules that Boucha is fit to be the dogs' caretaker.

Boucha says in the meantime she is struggling emotionally. She says she has dealt with lupus for much of her life and the Siberian huskies have been her passion.

"My dogs will run away, they will have a fate worse than going hungry down to skin and bone, than living with someone else and be placed somewhere else. These Siberians are a pack," she said.

If she gets the dogs back Boucha says she plans to move further north and run a sleddog trek with her huskies.

Boucha, who says she loves her dogs, is asking for donations from anyone to help her pay the bond bill before Friday.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch