Employee faces charges after the death of 10 dogs in a sanctuary - Albuquerque Journal

Employee faces charges after the death of 10 dogs in a sanctuary

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

A Deming man is charged with animal cruelty after 10 dogs under his care at an animal sanctuary died due to neglect.

Michael Muir, 63, is charged with 10 counts of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor offense.

Muir was an employee of Ray’s Ruff Ruff Sanctuary and was tasked with caring for around 100 animals there.

According to the criminal complaint, a Luna County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the sanctuary on southeast Rockhound Road in Deming on July 7.

There, the deputy made contact with sanctuary owner Raymond Schmal, who reported that 10 dogs had died due to Muir’s negligence.

Schmal told the deputy he was out of town when the animals died.

Monica Vasey, whose property is adjacent to the sanctuary, said she had spoken with Muir on a few occasions prior to the animals’ deaths and said he seemed “overwhelmed” by the job.

“The last phone call I got from Mike, I was very concerned about it,” she said.

That was June 25, and she said Muir told her then that he had found two dead dogs in a kennel and feared he would be blamed for their deaths.

According to court documents, Muir also called another man on June 25 to ask for help in dealing with the two carcasses. But in addition to the two dogs found in the trash, the man discovered the corpses of eight other dogs in kennels.

The two men then buried the dogs.

Schmal does not face any charges, but California records show he pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges in Kern County in 2014, when 12 dogs and 40 cats were removed from his home due to inhumane conditions.

Two dogs died en route to a veterinarian and two had to be euthanized, according to the criminal complaint.

Schmal directed questions to his attorney, who did not return multiple requests for comment.

Capt. Michael Brown of the Luna County Sheriff’s Office has sought the advice of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, since the incident. Brown said he is waiting on a report from the Deming-Luna County Humane Society, the nonprofit contracted for animal control services and which permitted Ruff Ruff.

“I know a lot of people are concerned,” said Humane Society board president Matt Robinson. “I understand why they’re concerned, but we’re just trying to do the right thing and go through the correct process.”

Dr. G. Clay Allred wrote to the Humane Society that while some of the dogs appeared “on the thinner side” and others had mange, all dogs looked to be in “decent to great shape.”

Around 75 dogs there were vaccinated by Allred, as well.

Home » News » Crime » Employee faces charges after the death of 10 dogs in a sanctuary

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Green comet sighting is 50,000 years in the making
ABQnews Seeker
For the first time in 50,000 ... For the first time in 50,000 years, the public has the opportunity to witness a green comet as it pa ...
Musician Matt Hillyer found inspiration for album 'Glorieta' in ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Texas-based musician Matt Hillyer will ... The Texas-based musician Matt Hillyer will end his tour run with Dale Watson on Friday, Jan. 27, at Launchpad.
Two suspects arrested in shooting death of Academy student
ABQnews Seeker
Jada Gonzales, 18, was shot at ... Jada Gonzales, 18, was shot at a house party in December
Photos: UNM Lobos women's basketball team beats CSU Rams ...
ABQnews Seeker
McGruder's grit, Augmon's shot lift UNM women to much-needed ...
ABQnews Seeker
Not necessarily pretty, but it got ... Not necessarily pretty, but it got the job done. The University of New Mexico women's basketball took a different approach to Thursday night's game ...
Midrange Mash: Lobo leads league in scoring thanks to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Lobo guard Jamal Mashburn, Jr., leads ... Lobo guard Jamal Mashburn, Jr., leads the MWC in scoring thanks to mastering the 'lost art' of the midrange jumper.
'Travels with Darley': PBS travel show visits New Mexico, ...
ABQnews Seeker
Darley Newman is host of "Travels ... Darley Newman is host of "Travels with Darley," which airs nationally. "New Mexico always holds a special place in my heart," she said. "This ...
Legislative proposal aims to amplify NM arts economy
ABQnews Seeker
House Bill 8 calls for a ... House Bill 8 calls for a new Creative Industries Division within the Economic Development Department
Lawmakers chewing on bill proposing free school meals for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Initiative would cover breakfast, lunch for ... Initiative would cover breakfast, lunch for over 69,000 students not subsidized