TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is making arrangements to have two of the three dogs involved in a bestiality case placed in an out-of-state no-kill animal sanctuary.
Tulsa County Sheriff's Chief Deputy George Haralson said Wednesday that a veterinarian had evaluated all three dogs — a Labrador, a mixed breed and a blue heeler — and found them to be in good health with the exception of the Labrador's heartworms, which are treatable.
The Sheriff's Office received a court order to have the dogs evaluated to determine whether they were suitable for adoption after their owners, Diane Sue Whalen, 54, and Donald Roy Seigfried, 55, were accused of sexually abusing them. An animal behaviorist still must evaluate the dogs.
A deputy who investigated the case had recommended that the dogs be euthanized and wrote in court affidavits that they had been trained to rape. But Haralson said the deputy had overstated the danger.
Whalen has forfeited her two dogs — the mixed breed and the Labrador — to the Sheriff's Office.
"We see no need for the dogs to be euthanized," Haralson said. "It would be in their best interest to have the dogs placed in a large sanctuary where they can live out the rest of their lives."
Still to be decided is the fate of Seigfried's blue heeler. Seigfried, whose name is spelled Siegfried in some records, is still trying to regain custody of his dog.
He is accused of videotaping Whalen, his girlfriend, as she allegedly performed sexual acts with the dogs, but he has denied any involvement in the videotaping.
If a judge awards custody of the blue heeler to the Sheriffs Office, Haralson indicated that officials will try to place it in a sanctuary, possibly with the other two dogs.
Haralson has been in touch with officials from the Best Friends Animal Society, which is located on a 3,700-acre ranch in southern Utah, about providing a home for the two dogs that are now in custody, Haralson said.
Best Friends, the nations largest animal sanctuary, is home to about 2,000 animals, mostly dogs and cats, from all over the country on any given day, said Barbara Williamson, media relations manager.
Williamson said officials with Best Friends have discussed the dogs involved in the bestiality case with the Sheriff's Office but could not say when a decision would be made regarding whether the sanctuary would accept the dogs.
The animal sanctuary considers a variety of factors in deciding whether animals will be accepted, Williamson said. If it cannot accept the dogs, it will work to find an animal shelter that will, she added.
Deputies seized the dogs in June after Whalen's son notified them that he had found materials in his mother's home in west Tulsa County that showed her performing sex acts with the dogs, according to a court affidavit.
Seigfried and Whalen were charged June 23 with crimes against nature. Seigfried was booked into the Tulsa Jail on June 24 and was released on $10,000 bond. Whalen was booked into the jail June 26 and was released on $7,500 bond.
A preliminary hearing for Seigfried has been set for Aug. 5.