83 dogs removed from 3 different properties in Spanish Fork, Orem, Provo, sheriff’s office says

Numerous dogs "in deplorable conditions" were seized from three locations by the Utah County Sheriff's Office it was announced Friday, April 22, 2022. Photo: UCSO/Twitter

SPANISH FORK, Utah, April 22, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A total of 83 dogs “in deplorable conditions” were seized from three locations April 14, and the owners are facing multiple charges, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

According to UCSO, an Animal Control deputy with the sheriff’s office responded on March 31 to a report of malnourished dogs at a home on River Bottoms Road near Spanish Fork, where they had no food or fresh water and were covered with feces.

“The Deputy met with a woman at the home, Staci Milligan Baker, 38, of Spanish Fork, and asked her about the information he received,” UCSO stated in a news release.

“What the Deputy began to see was disturbing. As he spoke to Baker, he saw two small puppies laying or sitting in feces in a 2’x2’ kennel on the kitchen floor. Both were listless and appeared to be in distress. Baker told the Deputy she runs a breeding operation and sells the dogs she owns.”

Baker was asked if the puppies were receiving treatment, and she told the deputy they had been seen by a veterinarian in Provo.

“This later was proven to be false,” the news release said. “Baker showed the Deputy some animal medication and said she got it from the same veterinarian in Provo. This also later proved to be false. This veterinarian said Baker did talk to him about a Parvo issue a few months earlier but said he had never examined them and had prescribed no medication for them.”

The deputy made a few inquiries and learned there had been another recent call to this same location.

“He was told there was a large shed on the property with dogs inside kennels. When he returned to the River Bottoms Road home to talk to Baker again, he waited on the road near the shed,” the news release continues. “The Deputy could see multiple dogs in small outdoor kennels. They had no water, no food and appeared to be malnourished. He could also smell the odor of feces coming from the shed.”

In following up, the deputy discovered additional properties owned by Baker and her husband — several dogs on a property in Orem, and many dogs on a property in Provo.

The dogs at all three locations appeared to be kept in less-than-desirable conditions, UCSO said.

“The Deputy tried repeatedly to contact Baker without success. He learned that Baker had a business license for the Orem location, but that was only to be used as executive office space under the name Maple Mountain English Cream, LLC.”

No kennel permit, no business license

The deputy also learned that Baker had no kennel permit at any of the three locations, and no business license to operate in the River Bottoms Road or Provo locations, so he drafted a “Notice of Action” to have the puppies he had seen earlier checked by a veterinarian, and he posted the notice at the home on River Bottoms Road. It required Baker to have the two sick puppies he saw earlier examined by a veterinarian within 14 days.

The FBI warrant

“During the investigation the Deputy learned that Baker’s husband, Matthew Ambrose Baker, 48, Spanish Fork, was wanted by the FBI,” UCSO stated.

The deputy spoke to the case agent and to Matthew Baker’s Federal Probation/Parole officer, who told the deputy that Matthew Baker was noncompliant and a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

The deputy tried to reach Staci Milligan Baker many times by phone and text, but she never responded, UCSO said. Because of the conditions he saw at all three locations, the deputy drafted an affidavit for a search warrant for the River Bottoms Road, Orem, and Provo properties. It was approved by a judge.

“On April 13, while conducting surveillance on the Orem home, the Deputy saw Mr. Baker outside the home. He called for assistance from other Deputies because Mr. Baker is known to get violent. They then approached Mr. Baker and arrested him without incident,” UCSO stated.

It was arranged to execute the warrant at all three locations simultaneously on April 14.

On that morning, those involved met to prepare to serve the warrant. A total of 83 dogs were seized — two at the Orem home, 26 at the Provo home, and 55 at the River Bottoms home.

“Deplorable” conditions

“Describing the conditions of the kennels, such as they were, at all three locations is difficult,” the UCSO news release said. “Many of the dogs had no regular access to water. When given water, a couple of the dogs drank voraciously then immediately got sick.

“Many appeared to have no regular access to food. It appeared that most, if not all, of the kennels hadn’t been cleaned for an extended period — if they had ever been cleaned at all. Some of the kennels were raised or had grated platforms in an apparent effort to allow feces to fall through and to the ground or floor.

“In many of the kennels this space was filled up to and over the bottom of the grated platforms. In many of the kennels the feces and urine created a muddy mixture that ran along the ground or floor. In other kennels there were piles of feces.

“Most of the dogs, when they would lie down, had nowhere clean to go. They would lie down on the dried or still wet, sometimes moldy urine-feces mixture. Many of the dogs had dried, crusted feces on their coats. Others had coats that were soaked with a foul-smelling urine-feces mixture.

“At the Orem home there was an area just over a fence with a large pile of feces that appeared to have been thrown there from inside the fenced property.”

The sheriff’s office reports that many of the people involved in the operation described the conditions as deplorable, and they said the odor caused many of them to retch or dry heave. They also said it was difficult to stay near the kennels, especially the kennels indoors, for very long because the odor of feces and urine was so strong.

“As the dogs were catalogued and photographed, most of them seemed thrilled to have the attention and they tried climbing on those holding them,” UCSO said. “Several people said their clothing or uniforms they were wearing had to be destroyed because of this contact with the dogs. And these are the conditions in which these 83 dogs were living.”

Bathed and vaxxed

The dogs were taken to the North and South Utah Valley Animal Shelters, where they were all bathed and vaccinated.

Four of these dogs tested positive for Giardia, so rather than test all of the dogs, the veterinarian ordered that they all be treated for Giardia. Several other dogs also had serious eye infections.

“It will be no surprise that Shelter staff are nearly overwhelmed with the effort it is taking to care for these dogs each day. As for the disposition of the dogs, it is our hope that the dogs will be able to be adopted out,” UCSO said. For the time being, though, that has not been determined.

This is an active case, and the investigation is ongoing. UCSO said it is expected that separate charges will be filed related to the violations at each location.

People from the following agencies assisted with this operation:

  • Utah County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Deputies
  • Utah County Sheriff’s Office Detectives
  • Utah County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Technicians
  • Utah County Sheriff’s Office Deputies
  • Orem Police Department Animal Control Officers
  • Orem Police Department Officers
  • Provo Police Department Animal Control Officers
  • Provo Police Department Officers
  • Spanish Fork Police Department Animal Control Officers
  • Spanish Fork Police Department Officers
  • Payson Police Department Animal Control Officers
  • Springville Police Department Animal Control Officers
  • Staff from both the South Utah Valley and North Utah Valley Animal Shelters


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