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GOLD BAR COUPLE MAKE COURT APPEARANCE IN PUPPY MILL CASE
February 25, 2009
(EVERETT, WA) — Jason Larsen and his wife Serenna Larsen, both 37, made their first appearances in Everett District Court yesterday on charges related to Snohomish County’s now infamous puppy mill case.
Both husband and wife are charged with six counts of first-degree animal cruelty for allegedly maintaining a home near Gold Bar with 160 dogs inside in what investigating officers described as deplorable conditions. The dogs were seized from the home during a raid in January.
District Court Judge Roger Fisher gave prosecutors until March 13th to refile the felony charges in Snohomish County's Superior Court. The couple had arrived in court without an attorney and judge Fisher asked if they had funds with which to hire one. When they replied no Fisher advised them to seek help from a public defender.
Animal control officers at the time of the January raid near Gold Bar said many of the animals were covered with urine and feces and the smell of excrement from inside the home was so strong it could be detected outside the house. Several dead dogs were also found dead in a freezer.
From that raid in January investigators developed other information that led to another 450 dogs being seized from a Mount Vernon area kennel which police allege is connected to the Gold Bar area raid and seizure.
In the Mt. Vernon area dog seizure Skagit County prosecutors have already filed four second-degree animal cruelty charges against a Mount Vernon couple, Richard and Marjorie Sundberg who are alleged to have operated the Skagit County kennel which authorities claim is part of the alleged multimillion-dollar puppy mill operation which includes the Gold Bar area home.
Marjorie Sundberg, say prosecutors, is the mother of two women, Renee Roske and Mary Ann Holleman. The two women had their Snohomish, Washington homes searched as part of the investigation that began in January at the house near Gold Bar.
A kennel in the city of Snohomish called “Wags ‘n’ Wiggles” that is operated by Renee Roske also is under investigation by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office has asked anyone who had bought a puppy or dog from Roske to contact detectives.
Jason Larsen claims the dogs he was housing and feeding in the Gold Bar area home belonged to Roske. Authorities say one of the dogs rescued from the house had a microchip implanted in it identifying Roske as the owner.
Property records indicate that Roske’s sister, Mary Ann Holleman, owns the Gold Bar home where the Larsen’s maintained the 160 dogs. The Larsens claim they were not the owners of the dogs.
Jason Larsen told investigators he would meet once a month with Holleman at an Everett Denny’s restaurant to pay his rent (on the house) in cash. Jason Larsen is the also the man who allegedly told investigators when they raided the Gold Bar area home that Roske made “millions” of dollars each year off of dog sales.
Neither Roske or Holleman have commented publicly on the on going investigation nor has either been charged with any wrongdoing.