Last of missing dogs returned to shelter

The third suspect in a weekend break-in at the Josephine County animal shelter has turned herself in, but none of the three now in custody has been charged in the killing of four dogs taken from the shelter and found beaten to death.

Two suspects arrested Tuesday evening, Harley Davidson Hopkins, 22, and Jacob A. Goodboe, 16, each made an initial court appearance Wednesday to face second-degree burglary, criminal mischief, theft and trespassing charges. First-degree aggravated animal abuse charges that deputies arrested them on have been set aside as the investigation continues, Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said.

Accompanied by her attorney, Kathi Holmbeck, 16-year-old Holly Hopkins, of Merlin, turned herself in Thursday afternoon to face a string of property crime charges, including burglary, theft and criminal mischief. Thursday morning, she returned the last of the 11 dogs taken from the shelter Friday, a blue heeler pup.

"We couldn't be happier to have all the animals back and safe at the shelter," Brad Tally, animal control supervisor, said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

The dogs all appeared happy and healthy, too, said Belle Shepherd, the county's public health director, whose duties include overseeing the animal control division.

Investigators suspect that the two Hopkinses and Goodboe broke into the shelter at 1420 Brookside Blvd., near the Grants Pass Airport, after it closed Friday. Shepherd said Harley Hopkins thought his chow mix had been brought there for running at large and he wanted to reclaim it without paying fees or fines, but it wasn't there.

Investigators said, and prosecutors agreed, that the three apparently cut chain-link fencing on kennels to free 11 of the 15 dogs at the shelter that night. Four pups, all younger than 6 months, were found dead at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, killed by a blow to the head and placed in a carefully spaced pattern down the center of the 700 block of Pleasant Valley Road in Merlin.

Three dogs were found loose at the shelter Saturday. Another, an aging dachshund, was found running in a nearby neighborhood Tuesday and investigators tracked down a chocolate Labrador while on the trail of the suspects. When officials caught up to Hopkins and Goodboe shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, the two had another of the stolen dogs, a spotted blue heeler pup.

The suspects contend that they had taken some of the stolen dogs to a transient camp, and investigators are now working to determine who last had the dogs that were found dead, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

The Josephine County District Attorney's office didn't return a call Thursday from the Mail Tribune.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail

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