13 Investigates


UPDATE: Rescued Pomeranians prepare for adoption

160 dogs seized in animal cruelty investigation
160 dogs seized in animal cruelty investigation
160 dogs seized in animal cruelty investigation
160 dogs seized in animal cruelty investigation
Posted at 1:34 PM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-21 16:56:36-05

UPDATE DEC. 7: 160 Pomeranians will soon need a home — this after being rescued from a truck in Sandy Valley.

The dogs have been released from their legal hold and will soon be available for adoption.

Due to a large number of dogs and the time required to prepare them for adoption, this requires careful planning to guarantee a smooth process for finding them loving homes. The public has been asked to watch the Animal Foundation's website and social media channels for an adoption update in the very near future.

The dogs are not yet available for viewing but that information will also soon be announced.

UPDATE DEC. 5: The Animal Foundation has been taking care of the dogs that were rescued from a truck in Sandy Valley. On Tuesday, they shared photos of the dogs being groomed. The dogs could be eventually released for adoption. 


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- Our camera watched as crate after crate was carted out.  

Dogs that had been crammed into the back of a U-Haul truck stacked floor to ceiling in an attempt, sources say, to avoid authorities serving a warrant on a Sandy Valley property on Wednesday.  

Gina Greisen with Nevada Voters for Animals had been surveilling the situation for several days. She alerted authorities who confiscated 164 Pomeranians late Wednesday night.  

Animal Control officers took the dogs to the Animal Foundation where they'll stay as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's animal cruelty task force investigates the case.    

"Puppy mills, hoarding situations, way too many animals is not appropriate here or anywhere!" said Nye County Emergency Management Director Vance Payne in 2014, when Contact 13 began investigating the woman authorities say is responsible for the dogs.

Her name is Noela Velasco and this is not the first time she's been in trouble over animals.  

In 2014, she moved from Las Vegas to Pahrump.

"And brought what appears to be a fairly active animal breeding business along with her," said Payne.

An illegal animal breeding business authorities called a Pomeranian puppy mill.  

"The Animal Control officers found so many they were unable to count them," said Payne.

Velasco had a run-in with Las Vegas Animal Control in 2012. She wouldn't let officers in to investigate allegations of illegal dog breeding.

Payne says the situation in Pahrump was similar.

"The Animal Control officer that went to do the follow-up was told to leave the property."

Nye County authorities cited Velasco for animal cruelty, having no breeder's license, too many animals, excessive noise and not being current on vaccinations.  

While still paying fines to the county, she relocated a year ago to Sandy Valley, just across the California state line.  

"The noise can be heard for miles in all directions," said Casey Shirley, who was her next door neighbor in Pahrump.

"I love my animals and to see somebody go to this extreme to treat people and animals this way, it just breaks my heart."

Nye County Animal Control reports describe what we saw on her Pahrump property--a double wide with windows covered with boards and foil and sheds with ventilation hoses.  

She told officials her intention with the dogs was to "breed and sell" and confirmed the sheds were for the dogs.

"If you can picture in your mind crates being stacked one on top of the other with live, little Pomeranian dogs inside of them," Payne described.

Velasco was advertising Pomeranian puppies on multiple websites for $600-700 each.  

Payne says the public is partly to blame for situations like this.

"These type of situations would slowly go away if people demanded to see where their animals were coming from."

No arrests have been made, but LVMPD has identified a suspect and says charges are forthcoming.

They're working with Animal Control in both Clark and San Bernardino counties.

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