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DA charges Stanfield couple with 37 counts of animal neglect

By Phil Wright

Staff Writer

Published on August 31, 2018 1:31PM

Husband and wife Richard Tyrone Ruiz and Martina Garcia Ruiz of Stanfield each face 37 counts of animal neglect stemming from a recent police investigation.

Stanfield police arrested the couple on Aug. 19 at their home at 230 S. Lucy St. and seized more than three dozen dogs and a cat. Animal rescuers said the outside of the home was like a junk yard and the interior was filthy with dog feces.

Richard Ruiz, 47, and Martina Ruiz, 48, were out of jail on Aug. 21 after signing release agreements, according to court records. A grand jury three days later handed up 37-count indictments against the pair — 36 misdemeanors of second-degree animal neglect for the 35 dogs and a cat and one felony of second-degree animal neglect because the total number of charges exceeded 11.

The indictment identifies each dog by name. Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said that is a practical matter.

“So when we’re talking to a jury, we’re all on the same page on that animal at the same time,” he said.

There was only one cat, so no need to name it.

Primus said animal neglect cases are unique, and his office is working with Jake Kamins, deputy district attorney in Benton County who specializes in animal cruelty law. Primus and his team relied on Kamins in 2017 for the prosecution of Hermiston rancher Michael Hockensmith who faced 200 counts of animal neglect after authorities discovered dead and malnourished cattle on his property. Hockensmith, 56, pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree animal neglect and is about 16 months into serving a five-year sentence on probation. Court records show in February he completed 80 hours of community service as part of the sentence.

Police during the Stanfield raid also arrested Michael Ruiz, 26, and his partner, Timi Jean Murray, 24, and placed their two young children into state custody. Michael Ruiz is the son of Richard and Martina Ruiz. Court records show Murray of Hermiston faces one count of endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor, but Michael Ruiz so far has no charges.

Murray is out of jail on bail. Her next court appearance is on Tuesday. The Ruizes have their next court appearances on Sept. 11.


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