Child porn investigation leads to animal abuse arrests
Nov 16,2007 00:00 by Cheryl McDermott

Police detectives investigating allegations of child pornography raided a home in northeast Salem, Oregon Thursday afternoon and found 24 dogs without food or water, some near death, and eight dead puppies in the freezer alongside frozen food.  The odor of feces found caked on the floor, beds, furnishings and clothing was so strong that police wore breathing respirators and the home was found to be unfit for human habitation.

The health department posted the home as 'unfit for human habitation'.  SPD photo
24 poodles were found without food or water, and eight dead puppies were found in the freezer, detectives said. SPD photo
According to a news release, Salem Police detectives served a search warrant in connection with the child porn investigation at 4345 Vernon Loop NE about 12:45 p.m. and immediately discovered the unfit living conditions. 

Two-dozen poodles were either running loose in the home or in cages, without food or water.  Some of the dogs were near death, detectives reported.  In addition to the feces, the kitchen had no clean area for food preparation and the home had no garbage service.  The Marion County Health Department posted the residence as "Unfit for Human Habitation", the release stated.

When detectives found eight dead puppies in plastic bags alongside food items, they were told that they had been put there until an older child, one of four living in the home with two adults, could bury the animals in the back yard.

The adult residents, Kevin and Sarah Deal, both 30-years old, were taken into custody and booked into the Marion County Jail.  They are each charged with four counts of criminal mistreatment, eight counts of first-degree animal neglect, and 24 counts of second-degree animal neglect.  Bail on the 36 counts of criminal activity was set at $140,000.

The Deal’s two children, aged 15 and 16, and two other children aged nine and 17 who also live at the home, were taken into protective custody and placed in the care of the Department of Human Services, the release stated.

Detectives with the Street Crimes Unit and Drug Activity Response Team assisted in the execution of the search warrant, and the Humane Society and Marion County Dog Control were called to help with the poodles.

The child pornography investigation is continuing, detectives said.