Animals rescued in Beaverhead County animal abuse case are ready for adoption

Beaverhead County Sheriff Dave Wendt
Posted at 9:44 AM, May 30, 2024

Animals that were rescued in April 2024 from what the Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office calls the most horrific case of animal abuse it's seen are now thriving in their new, temporary home at the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds, and most of them are ready for adoption.

"The animals are doing great. The veterinarian came, they’ve all had their dip and stuff, so all clear of lice or fleas or ticks or anything like that," says Sheriff Dave Wendt. "Last time you were here they were wild as antelope and now they’re pretty—they’re calm."

Deputies rescued 47 animals including dogs, pigs, a lllama and alpaca and geese, turkeys, goats, and cats from the property of Constance and Robert Riley. The officers were looking for lost pygmy goats when they were allowed to search the property.

Watch previous coverage: Animals rescued from carcass-strewn property recovering in Dillon

Animals rescued from property strewn with carcasses recovering in Dillon

The Rileys are charged individually with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of littering, dumping, or leaving dead animals on their property and are pleading not guilty to both counts.

"Everything's doing really good, really healthy. Hopefully today the Rileys signed a release and then we can get them all adopted out. I have homes for everybody. I just gotta wait for this release to get signed by the Rileys," says Wendt.

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In charging documents, officers reported finding dead goats in various stages of decomposition, including one inside a trailer filled with feral cats. They also found a dead dog rotting in a car, chickens feeding off carcasses, and a goose that had only its bottom beak. Sheriff Wendt says that goose is no longer living.

"I feel better. I mean, look at—you don’t see their bones sticking out anymore. They’re actually friendly. I feel better sending them out to new homes knowing that they’re in the healthy condition they are now," says Wendt.

The Rileys' next court scheduling hearing is set for July 26. Sheriff Wendt hopes all of the animals will be moved to their new homes in the coming weeks.