Talent man charged in dog deaths

A Talent man faces felony animal cruelty charges for allegedly killing a litter of puppies that he told investigators he just didn't want to care for anymore, Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said.

Talent police arrested Robert Allen Fullmer, 54, of the 800 block of Talent Ave., on Wednesday after investigators tracked down a tip from a concerned neighbor who had read news accounts of puppies apparently suffocated and dumped at the Southern Oregon Humane Society over the weekend.

Sunday morning, Humane Society workers found a sealed plastic storage container with large mixed-breed puppies about 8 weeks old inside. Each of the five pups was wrapped in a plastic bag and appeared to have been suffocated. Initial news reports listed the wrong number of puppies, Moran said.

However, the news prompted a tipster to come forward with information about the pups' deaths.

"When it comes to the vulnerable — children or animals — people are willing to come forward," Moran said.

Talent police Sgt. Jennifer Snook pursued the tip, which was received Tuesday. She interviewed Jackson County animal control and Humane Society officials, and had a veterinarian examine the bodies of the five puppies, confirming that they were suffocated.

The veterinarian concluded that the dogs didn't die of natural causes or even die in a humane manner, Moran said.

"She did a very thorough investigation," Moran said of Snook.

The investigation indicated that Fullmer had cared for a dog and her puppies for his roommate, who was in jail. Fullmer told investigators he couldn't do the job any more.

"It was not a financial hardship, but he didn't want to care for them," Moran said.

The mother dog was taken by a friend, and police plan to check on her, too, Moran said.

Police believe that Fullmer suffocated the puppies at his Talent home, then got someone to dispose of the bodies at the Humane Society. Investigators still want to talk to that person, Moran said.

"It was just flawed decision-making," he said of the deaths and delivery of the bodies to the Humane Society. "It's not hard to surrender puppies."

When Fullmer was booked into the Jackson County Jail this morning on five counts of aggravated animal abuse, jail officials found that he had a small packet of meth hidden. Charges of possession of methamphetamine and supplying contraband into a correctional facility were added.

Fullmer, who has multiple felony and misdemeanor convictions on drug charges, driving under the influence and resisting arrest, remained in jail Wednesday on $35,000 bail.

Bill Templeman, executive director of the Southern Oregon Humane Society, said he was pleased that police had found a suspect quickly, adding that he hoped Fullmer would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"I hope people will see this is a serious crime," he said.

He said the incident also highlights the importance of the work of various animal welfare organizations in the Rogue Valley, especially spay and neuter programs and education for pet owners.

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