Updated May 13, 2019 - 6:09 pm
Two boxes in bags appeared outside a Las Vegas animal shelter in late February. Employees brought the boxes into the building, opened them and made a grisly discovery: three dead Chihuahuas.
More than two months later, Las Vegas police arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of six counts of animal cruelty.
A Metropolitan Police Department arrest report released Monday details the accusations that Brian R. Savage, 64, and Camilla Kepler, 46, abused the three dogs.
Both suspects face three additional counts after police searched their house May 2 and found 35 more Chihuahuas, including three that appeared in need of immediate medical attention for mange, the report states.
One of those three also had a broken back. It couldn’t use its rear legs and would drag its body across concrete, leaving a trail of blood, the report states.
“It is reasonable to believe that this animal was suffering extremely from its injuries and it is reasonable to believe that anyone seeing this dog would know that it was (in) need of immediate medical care,” an officer wrote in the report.
Kepler, who told police she volunteered at an animal hospital, said she cared for the dog and didn’t think it was suffering.
Security footage captured a woman dropping off boxes and a gray Nissan Sentra, the report said. On the day the search warrant was served, police stopped Savage and Kepler as they were leaving their house in a 2017 gray Nissan Sentra. Police found three Chihuahuas in the car.
Both Savage and Kepler denied abusing their animals, although each admitted dropping off dogs at the shelter after they had died, the report states. Savage told police that either he, Kepler or a person with a redacted name had dropped off the dogs “multiple times,” the report states.
Police identified the pair by tracking down the boxes, which had delivery labels indicating they had been taken from Champion’s Grille at Sunrise Vista at Nellis Air Force Base. A manager told police that boxes are tossed in the garbage, and the janitor responsible for the boxes was Savage, the report said.
Savage had asked to take home the boxes because he was moving, the report states. The manager also told police that Savage and his girlfriend, Camilla, had several Chihuahuas and that she often accompanied him to work. She would let the dogs urinate on the Sunrise Vista golf course, the manager said.
“(The manager) stated that the dogs appeared thin and had a raspy bark,” according to the report.
The Animal Foundation said in a statement that it had reported the dead dogs to Metro on discovery and that the organization is relieved at the arrests. The foundation has taken in the remaining dogs, a spokeswoman said.
“As far as the dogs currently in our care, they are going through medical and behavioral assessments as well as treatment,” the statement reads in part. “We’ll continue to care for them and work to put them on a path to adoption as soon as possible.”
Savage was arrested May 2 but was released with electronic monitoring on the condition that he “stay away from all animals,” court records show. Kepler, also arrested May 2, remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Monday evening, jail records show.
Reached by phone Monday evening, Kepler’s attorney, Michael Troiano, said he was still awaiting medical reports and other evidence from the district attorney’s office.
Troiano will seek her release to electronic monitoring at a court hearing Tuesday morning, he said.
“Always much more preferential to have your client out of custody,” when litigating a case, Troiano said.
Prosecutors accused Savage of five counts of violating Clark County animal codes in 2016, court records show.
A bench warrant for his arrest was issued after he didn’t show up to a status check on Dec. 8, 2016, the records show. At a May 6 court hearing following his arrest, he was given credit for time served in the 2016 case, which was deemed closed.
The arrest report indicates a 2016 Clark County Animal Control case involved Chihuahuas suffering from mange.
In 2018, Kepler refused to cooperate with an animal control officer while two dogs tried to get into her home, the report said.