Jeanette Covert

Covert

An Idaho Falls woman and her daughter were arraigned Wednesday after animal control officers discovered she was keeping four dogs in a house covered in feces.

Animal control officers investigated Jeanette Covert, 37, and Amber Fox, 18, on June 3 after a neighbor reported the dogs were starving. The caller said he had seen that one of the dogs had died in the house on Lovejoy Street and was afraid the other animals would die too. The conditions are described in detail in an Idaho Falls Police Department report.

The caller said the dogs were kept locked in a bedroom in the house, except for a chihuahua that was so emaciated its bones could be seen.

Covert was convicted in 2015 for a misdemeanor animal abuse after two of her dogs starved to death. Covert was forbidden from owning dogs after the conviction.

The reporting party said there was no power in the house and the dogs were locked in a bedroom with the windows boarded over. The floor of the bedroom was covered in urine and feces, and the dogs had no access to food or water. The reporting party said it was “not as bad as it usually is,” according to the police report.

Officers obtained a search warrant to check the house.

“When I stepped into the house, the smell of urine and feces was horrific,” one of the officers wrote in her report.

The officers found a bucket of food in the house, but no water. One of the dogs was kept in a bedroom with a bowl of water and an empty automatic feeder.

Two other dogs were kept in a room together. One of the dogs had filth caked onto his legs. They did not have access to food or water.

The officers asked Fox about the dog that had died and been buried in the back yard.

“She first acted like she didn’t know what we were talking about and then she asked me, ‘Which one?’” the officer wrote in her report.

The officers found a puppy buried that had died at 3 months old. A witness who lived at the house told police the puppy died after eating drywall.

Four of the dogs were found to be underweight, including one that had a tense abdomen and infections in both ears. A fifth dog owned by the witness appeared to be in good health compared to the other dogs. The dogs were taken to the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter where they have been gaining weight, according to the report.

Animal abuse in Idaho carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of $100 to $5,000 for a first offense. A second offense carries a penalty of up to nine months and $200 to $7,000, and a third offense is a year and $500 to $9,000 in fines.

Covert was charged with three counts of animal cruelty, each punishable with up to nine months in jail, and operating a kennel without a license, failure to obtain or maintain rabies vaccines and owning a dog without a license, all punishable with up to a year in jail. All the charges are misdemeanors.

Fox was charged with one count of animal cruelty, owning a dog without a license and failure to obtain or maintain rabies vaccines.

A pretrial conference for both cases is scheduled for 8:10 a.m. July 11 in Bonneville County Courthouse.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.

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