By Pat Reavy
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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (KSL) — A Cottonwood Heights man who police say has a history of adopting animals, mainly dogs, and abusing them just days after taking them home, now faces criminal charges.
Kaiden Orie Graham, 20, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with four counts of torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felon.
The investigation began May 17 when a woman who wanted to check on Graham’s animals went to his residence. The woman knew that Graham would be out of town from May 16 to May 22 and “became concerned the dogs were not being taken care of,” according to charging documents.
When the woman opened Graham’s door, she told police she was “consumed” by the “heavy odor of urine and feces.” When she found the room where Graham’s two dogs — Loki and Freya — were being kept, she found that the puppy was malnourished and “was having difficulty standing and kept falling over” while Freya was locked in a kennel with feces and urine, the charges state.
An officer was called to the residence and quickly determined that the apartment was “unsafe for human and animal occupancy,” according to the charges. Animal control officers and the Salt Lake County Health Department were called to the scene.
A second officer who arrived at the apartment “noted the burning smell of ammonia.” The officer then observed that Loki, a 6-month-old shina ibu, appeared to be dehydrated, had a cauliflower ear and “when he attempted to get up, he circled one way and fell over,” according to the court documents. The officer also “noted both dogs appeared to be extremely underweight.”
Loki was taken to a local vet on May 18 and was found to have broken ribs in various stages of healing, a spinal injury, a leg injury, and “severe head trauma,” the charges state. “The head trauma had caused blindness and it was unknown if Loki would ever see again.”
As detectives looked into Graham’s history, they learned that he had adopted seven other dogs between March 2021 and January. According to charging documents:
In March 2021, he adopted a dog named Ragnarok from the Humane Society who weighed 57 pounds and was healthy when he was picked up. Two months later, the dog was returned weighing 43 pounds. Another dog named Layla was adopted and returned two days later. A third dog, Heidi, was returned the day after being adopted. After those two dogs were returned, Graham adopted Gravy in July 2021. The next day, Graham reported that Gravy had a seizure and fell off a couch. Three days later, the dog was taken to Cottonwood Animal Hospital after he said the dog had a seizure and fell off a couch. Gravy was euthanized. A couple of days later, Graham adopted another dog, Arnold. The next day, Graham reported Arnold was not eating and was vomiting. The Humane Society of Utah conducted an exploratory surgery and found lesions and bruising to the dog’s liver. It was at that point that the Humane Society placed Graham on the “no adopt” list. On July 29, Freya was adopted from a pet store in West Jordan. Two weeks later, the dog was treated for a broken leg. But Graham did not properly care for the dog’s leg after it had a cast placed on it and on Sept. 30, the dog’s leg was amputated due to infection. On Jan. 17, Graham adopted Loki from a store. A month later, a witness reported to police that she saw Graham punching and beating Loki in a car. The witness also observed Graham “pick up the dog (by the) neck and begin swinging the dog from the dashboard to the seat, hitting the dog’s head on both.” Information on the breeds and ages of the dogs was not immediately available on Friday.
Police also learned that a chinchilla had died while in Graham’s care, the charges state. Witnesses told police that he also owned two cats at one time and that both died under suspicious circumstances. A no-bail warrant was issued for Graham’s arrest.
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