|Joseph Christian Rapp, 29, of Nice, Calif., was arrested on Thursday, July 5, 2012, on felony charges of cruelty to animals and abandoning six ill puppies. Lake County Jail photo.|
LAKEPORT, Calif. – A Northshore man was arrested early Thursday for allegedly abandoning six puppies last week.
Joseph Christian Rapp, 29, a handyman from Nice, was arrested for cruelty to animals and for abandoning the puppies, both of which are felonies, according to Sgt. Steve Brooks of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Deputy Mauricio Barreto arrested Rapp exactly one week after the six German Shorthaired Pointer mix puppies were found in the area of 4500 Hill Road by a Lake County Waste Solutions driver, according to sheriff’s and Animal Care and Control officials.
Brooks’ report said the driver had noticed the puppies inside a dog crate, sitting next to some residential garbage containers, on Thursday, June 28.
Barreto, who responded to the scene, found the puppies cold, emaciated and covered in feces, vomit and urine, as was the inside of the dog crate. Brooks said Barreto also noticed that one of the puppies appeared to be extremely sick and was unable to move.
The deputy took the puppies to Lake County Animal Care and Control, where Director Bill Davidson said they were tested for canine parvovirus, a disease that’s particularly deadly for puppies. Five of them tested positive for the disease.
Officials said the puppies – estimated to be about 3 months old – had been sick for an extended period of time and should have been taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
Davidson said one of the puppies died later on June 28, the healthy puppy was transferred to Lake County Animal Services for foster care and the other four remained at the shelter for treatment, under the supervision of the shelter’s director of veterinary services, Dr. Anthony Wong.
Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic donated fluids and other supplies to help the pups, and Lake County Animal Services provided funds to cover their care.
Davidson shared the story with Lake County News and other local media. After the articles appeared, “several very valuable tips were called in as to who the person that dumped the puppies might be,” he said Thursday.
That information was forwarded to Barreto, who had continued to pursue the case over the past week, Davidson said.
The leads Barreto received ultimately led him to Rapp, who several people had indicated was responsible for the crimes, Brooks said.
|This puppy and its five littermates were found abandoned near Lakeport, Calif., on Thursday, June 28, 2012. Five of the puppies tested positive for canine parvovirus, and one of them has died. Photo courtesy of Lake County Animal Care and Control.|
At 7 a.m. Thursday Barreto went to Rapp’s residence and contacted him, Brooks said.
During an interview with Barreto, Rapp allegedly admitted to dumping the puppies because they were sick, according to Brooks.
Brooks said Rapp told the deputy that he had planned on shooting the puppies, but he was unable to find anyone who would loan him a firearm.
Barreto arrested Rapp and took him to the Hill Road Correctional Facility, where Rapp was booked, with his bail set at $15,000. Jail records showed he remained in custody Thursday night.
A review of Lake County Superior Court records indicated Rapp had no previous local criminal cases.
Davidson said Kennel Coordinator Sara Schramm has diligently been watching the puppies every day, and on Tuesday they began eating and showing interest in food, which he said was “a very good sign.” They’ve also been moved in foster care.
However, Davidson said late Thursday afternoon one of the puppies took a turn for the worse and was taken to Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic for a blood transfusion.
“We’ll hope for the best,” he said.
Lake County Animal Services is holding an online fundraiser through ChipIn to help pay for the puppies’ expensive medical care.
The fundraiser is continuing until July 28 and can be found at http://lakecounty.chipin.com/parvo-pointer-pups .
As of Thursday evening, the fundraiser had brought in $755.
Email Elizabeth Larson at email@example.com .