The Tonopah woman accused of animal cruelty for her alleged mistreatment of more than 67 dogs and two cats has until today to prove she can provide adequate shelter and good living conditions if she wants to get a few of her animals back.
If not, Tails End Animal Shelter will take permanent possession of the animals, Judge Kim Wanker ruled on Tuesday. According to Nye County ordinance, owners can have up to five dogs on their property without a kennel permit.
Bette Lynn Fuchsel, 69, who is facing numerous criminal charges including animal cruelty, appeared in Tonopah Justice Court on Tuesday only for a hearing on the future of the animals. A trial date of May 13 on some of the criminal charges was set late last month.
Tails End Animal Shelter Director Susan Cronin said Fuchsel must meet the conditions set by the court, if she wants to recover and keep just a few of the animals.
“The judge has been extremely sympathetic and lenient with her by giving her time,” she said. “She gave custody of the dogs to the county and the owner has until Friday to be allowed to take a couple of the dogs back, but she has to prove she has the right place and means to take them.”
Of the 67 dogs taken from the Tonopah property Feb. 24, 19 dogs have already been relinquished by Fuchsel and either adopted out or sent to sanctuaries.
Also during Tuesday’s court hearing, Pahrump attorney Nancy Lord took over the case from Fuchsel’s original public defender, Christopher Arabia.
Lord, Cronin said, is also embroiled in her own animal dilemmas with Nye County Animal Control.
“We still have her dogs here at Tails End,” Cronin said.
Cronin was referring to Nye County Animal Control’s seizure of more than 30 dogs from Lord’s property last August after receiving numerous reports of Lord’s dogs running at large in her neighborhood.
Nonetheless, Cronin said she hopes Fuchsel can comply with the agreement.
“Deputy District Attorney Marla Zlotek had a good talk with Nancy, and I did too,” she said. “I provided them with the names of the different rescues that want to help by taking the dogs. Nancy did try to talk to her client to work something out.”