A Rock Springs woman has been charged with animal cruelty after two dogs she was taking care of for her fiancé were found in an emaciated condition.
Lauryn Burge, 20, who has pleaded guilty in the Rock Springs Municipal Court to misdemeanor animal cruelty, first offense, charge is facing a maximum six-month jail sentence and $750 fine. She is scheduled to appear for a sentencing hearing January 21 in the RS Municipal Court.
According to Jayden Dufford, Burge’s ex-fiancé, he left both of his dogs, Maxie and Angel, in Burge’s care while he was attending boot camp for the National Guard in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
Terry Dufford, Jayden’s father, said his son is back in boot camp and is hard to get in touch with, but he was with Jayden when they discovered the dogs.
In an interview, Terry said he and other family members were with his son when he entered the house for the first time after returning from boot camp. Terry said his son left for boot camp on Sept. 23 and returned around December 21.
Jayden was told by Burge’s parents that things at the house were not going too well and the place was trashed, but nothing prepared him for what he saw when he finally entered. Terry said because they were warned they called for a police officer to accompany them to the property.
“We didn’t know what we were walking into,” Terry said.
When they opened the door, they were greeted with what Terry described as one of the worst smells he had ever encountered.
“It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life,” Terry said.
“I walk into my house filthy and disgusted because there is feces, trash, and more trash everywhere,” Jayden said in a Facebook post.
They walked through the trashed house trying to find the dogs, which were located in the bathroom.
“As I open the door, I will never be able to unsee the lifeless body of my best friend in the bath tub and to pick her up and she has no life in her holding to dear life,” Jayden said on the Faceook post.
However, Angel wasn’t dead yet. She moved and the family got her and Maxie out of the house as quickly as they could.
They called a veterinarian and got advice on what to do for Angel. They then arranged for an emergency visit, but on the way to the vet, Angel died in Jayden’s sister’s arms.
Looking back, Terry believes there were signs that things weren’t right, but he never thought anyone was capable of this.
“If I would have known what those dogs’ conditions were in, I would have taken them in an instant,” Terry said.
Terry and the rest of the family are focused on getting Maxie back to her original condition and just want to move forward.
Jayden wanted to thank Burge’s family for helping them throughout the process and being supportive.