Rhonda Staggs.jpg

T. Staggs

A plea agreement has been reached with a Hartford woman charged with 17 counts of animal cruelty, but the details of which are not yet public. 

Rhonda Staggs, 57, appeared in Lyon County District Court Wednesday afternoon with her attorney Ty Wheeler. Wheeler said, while an agreement had been reached, he had not yet had a chance to review an ample amount of discovery with his client and wanted to do so before the plea was read. 

Judge Doug P. Jones granted a continuance until 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1, at which time the plea will be entered into the court. 

Wheeler also said there were questions about what to do about the disposition of the dogs that had been removed from Staggs' care. 

Staggs, along with Thomas Staggs, 58, were arrested on May 26 when Lyon County Deputies responded to 303 E. Grand Ave. in Hartford to serve an order issued by Hartford Municipal Court. Multiple complaints had been made about animals being a nuisance and the home serving as an "unauthorized kennel." Hartford city ordinance sets a limit on the number of dogs allowed at a home before it is considered a kennel.

While the order was "to take all but five animals," Deputy Jacob Welsh to The Gazette that the living conditions for the dogs "was not acceptable" and deputies had search warrants executed at the house in order to take all dogs from the residence.

Deputies removed 17 dogs, including 14 wolfdogs.

Wheeler said of the 14 wolfdogs taken in by the Guardians of the Wolves rescue, one had reportedly died and others had been adopted out or sold. 

Prosecutor Meghan Morgan said the rescue did contact the county about possibly adopting out some of the wolfdogs, but were informed that was not possible at this time. At this time, all of the dogs are still in possession of the rescue. 

Three other non-wolfdogs, she said, were in the care of Rhonda Staggs' son. 

Morgan said the state had reached out to both Rhonda and Thomas Staggs' attorneys about signing a disposition to allow the dogs to be adopted, but to date, neither party had agreed to sign. 

(1) comment


It's because she's wanting to get the animals back that she lost to neglect them again. She's not stable she's got a puppy right now in her care. She treated a person who was the owner of half of those wolfdogs like really badly and kicked her out of her home with no where to go and took the woman's disability money.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.