A pair of Tooele residents are facing felony charges in connection with the deaths of two malnourished dogs found on the shoulder of Smelter Road in January.
KC Lynn Olson, 28, and PJ Hepner, 34, are both charged with two counts of third-degree felony torture of a companion animal and one count of misdemeanor littering.
A Tooele County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched on a report of an animal carcass on Jan. 20, according to a probable cause statement. When the deputy contacted the reporting party, she said she found two deceased dogs on the shoulder of Smelter Road.
The deputy located the two dogs, a Great Dane and brindle pit bull, which both appeared to be severely malnourished, the statement said. The ribs of both dogs were clearly visible and other areas of the dogs appeared to be abnormally thin.
The deputy did not believe the dogs had been beside the road long as there was no smell of decay, the probable cause statement said. The incident appeared on Facebook and the sheriff’s office received numerous phone calls.
After Olson was identified as the possible owner, the responding deputy contacted her on the phone, the statement said. Olson told the deputy the dogs were accidently let out of her garage in November and she hadn’t seen them since.
A neighbor spoke with deputies on Jan. 23 and said Olson had previously not fed a dog and it was left in a kennel for an extended period of time, according to the statement. The neighbor said she had seen the Great Dane about two weeks prior, and she had seen the pit bull tied to a tree in the yard about a month prior.
Another neighbor reported seeing the Great Dane in Olson’s yard around Christmas time, the probable cause statement said.
Investigators spoke with Hepner, who said he lived with Olson for the previous six months and admitted the dogs lived at the residence, the statement said. He claimed they had escaped in November and hadn’t been seen since.
A third neighbor told investigators he had seen the Great Dane and noticed it was thin, then confronted the owners on the dog’s condition, according to the probable cause statement.
Both Hepner and Olson are scheduled to make their initial appearance in 3rd District Court on Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m. before Judge Matthew Bates.