54°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

DA: Embattled kennel operators face more charges

Updated November 3, 2022 - 2:29 pm

The Nye County District Attorney’s Office says it has substantially increased the number of counts in the criminal complaints against Vasili Platunov and Oksana Higgins, the kennel operators accused in one of the county’s biggest animal torture cases.

Both are now charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty, up from five in the original complaint. Platunov and Higgins each now face a maximum of as much 28-72 years in prison.

“We’ve reviewed this case very carefully and continued to work on it as more evidence came in and the picture became clearer,” Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia said.

“We’ve discussed it extensively with some of the top animal cruelty experts in the country and this is the right number of counts. With the surviving dogs heading out of Nevada, it was the right time to amend the complaint to include additional charges.”

After a hearing in the Fifth Judicial District Court on Oct.26, the process began for the ASPCA to take the survivors to an animal cruelty rehab center in Ohio.

“These new developments came about almost a year after my office asked that Platunov be put in jail for failing to abide by court directives regarding his dogs,” Arabia said. “Judge Lane declined to jail Platunov and instead ordered fines. Platunov has paid about $7,500 thus far. The dogs remained at Platunov’s facilities for another nine months or so.”

On Feb. 20, a certified Nye Animal Control Officer requested that the Nye County Sheriff’s Office send a criminal referral for animal cruelty to the district attorney’s office.

NCSO initially did not do so but two months later, on April 19, NCSO sent a report on Platunov and Higgins to the DA’s Office but did not arrest them.

On May 2, Arabia said he reviewed the referral and contacted the NCSO deputy who had by then taken over handling the Platunov-Higgins case. The deputy assured the DA’s office in May, June and July that there was no animal cruelty and nothing necessitating the filing of criminal charges, according to reports from the DA’s office.

“I was personally involved with this, and they told my office well into July, that NCSO was making regular visits to the Platunov sites and that there was no cause for arrest or prosecution,” Arabia said.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office raided the Platunov properties and arrested Platunov and Higgins in late August and seized more than 300 dogs from their possession that were found to be in poor condition.

The DA filed a criminal complaint two days later.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Sportsman’s Quest: Marines and a holiday hunt

In my last column I wrote about my “successful elk hunt” with my artist friend, Justin Young. It was a great adventure, but my freezer was still empty.

Fugitive who fled after woman’s attack found hiding in travel trailer

Ryan Sanders, 37, of Pahrump,who fled from authorities following the kidnapping and brutal attack of a Pahrump woman last week has been taken into custody by Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies and assisting agencies.

2 cannabis lounges OK’d for Nye

KV Group LLV and GGCPA SE Inc. both plan to launch local lounges, where adults will be allowed to smoke, vape and consume cannabis products onsite.

Nascar tickets up for grabs at Bowl-A-Thon

This Sunday, the Pahrump Nugget Bowling Center will be taken over by supporters of America’s heroes during the Wounded Warriors Bowl-A-Thon and event organizer Denise Flanagan is excited to announce the addition of an extraordinarily generous donation to the cause.

Here are the plans for Front Sight firearms facility

When Front Sight Firearms Training Institute filed for bankruptcy in May, many feared that would mark the end for the nation’s largest firearms training center. But the site is expected to be revived under new ownership.

Nye County tribe faced voting barriers this election

The Yomba Shoshone Tribe had difficulty getting an in-person polling location for the 2022 midterms. Tribes across Nevada and Indian Country face barriers in accessing the voting booth.

Bowl-A-Thon to benefit Wounded Warriors

Hosted by local veteran Denise Flanagan, all of the money raised at the Bowl-A-Thon will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that supports veterans.