Man suspected of animal cruelty wants the 49 dogs confiscated from him back

TACOMA, Wash. - A man accused of animal cruelty and dog-fighting is trying to get 49 dogs back into his custody.

Elmer James Givens Jr. sat in a Pierce County courtroom Thursday requesting the dogs be returned to him. But court officials said they did not have enough information to move forward with the case.

“I haven’t had the benefit of reviewing any of the facts of evidence in this case prior to today’s hearing,” said Pierce County Judge Jeanette Lineberry.

Because of this, Lineberry postponed any hearing until next week.

“I want to be treated fairly. I haven’t been charged with anything,” said Givens.

Officers got a warrant to search Givens' home Dec. 18. They said they found dozens of dogs locked in crates inside a garage with no ventilation or lighting. The dogs were lying in their own urine and feces.

The sheriff's office said officers also found paraphernalia associated with dog fighting and breeding, including medications, syringes, first-aid supplies and training tools.

Dozens of animal rights supporters packed inside the courtroom. Lesley Roehr was one of them. She drove up from Portland for the hearing and says she is happy with the temporary results.

“She’s not releasing the dogs today, so that’s a win for us. We want the dogs to stay safe,” said Roehr.

Officials with the prosecutor’s office say this is a complex case due to the different reporting agencies as well as the number of dogs involved.

Because of that, there is no timeline for if, and when charges will be announced.