ALAMOGORDO – A Tularosa couple were sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised probation in 12th Judicial District Court for child abuse and extreme cruelty to animals Monday.
Sandra Quick, 30, and Allan Quick, 31, were facing almost 52 years in prison but 12th Judicial District Judge Angie K. Schneider suspended 41 years and 343 days in prison of the couple’s sentence.
During the Quicks’ sentencing hearing, Schneider said she didn’t believe the Quicks were criminal masterminds but unhealthy people who would expose their children to dangerous conditions.
“Needless to say, this has been an incredibly difficult case,” Schneider said. “It has been tragic, horrific, egregious, and utterly heartbreaking. The children who will forever be impacted will hopefully heal from whatever happened on the (Quicks’) property. They will suffer the consequences of this for the rest of their lives.”
An Otero County jury found Sandra and Allan guilty of six counts of third-degree felony child abuse after a four-day trial in March.
In a separate case, the Quicks plead no contest to 8 counts of extreme animal cruelty and 22 counts of animal cruelty on the morning of their May trial.
After completing their 10-year prison sentence, the Quicks will not be permitted to have unsupervised contact with any minor child under the age of 13, including their own children nor be allowed to own or possess any animals as part of their conditions of probation.
“Hopefully this will prevent further tragedy from happening to any children or animals,” Schneider said from the bench.
Representing the state, District Attorney John P. Sugg asked the court to impose a sentence of 25 years on the couple. He said the Quicks had the financial ability, a legal and moral responsibility to provide better care for their children and the animals on the property.
“The living conditions were not suitable for the children to grow up in,” Sugg said during the hearing. “They have shown no ownership of their actions. We can’t order people to stop having kids, but we do have the ability to lock them up, so they can stop having kids. We cannot protect these kids with these people outside of custody.”
During the Quicks’ March trial, Lee Wilder, who worked as an Otero County Sheriff’s deputy at the time, testified he conducted a welfare check on the Quicks’ six children Dec. 5, 2015.
Wilder testified he saw some of the worst deplorable living condition that were the worst he had seen in his 20-year law enforcement career.
During the March trial, it was revealed the Quicks were living inside a recreational vehicle on the property with their six children and Sandra’s cousin, Ryan Boggs.
Evidence presented at the trial revealed nine people were living in the RV while the Quicks allowed four dogs and several cats to also live in the RV.
The children were filthy and sick with upper respiratory infections, according to testimony.
Wilder testified he could smell a mixture of urine, feces, body odor and moldy clothes.
The six children were treated at the hospital then placed with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
Otero County Sheriff’s deputies also found 11 dead dogs on the property along with 30 cats and dogs either suffering from malnutrition or in need of immediate medical attention.
Sugg said the Quicks had been operating a business called K9 and Feline Assistance Program of Tularosa. Sandra Quick would purchase animals from a shelter in El Paso to resell in Alamogordo and attempt to resell them, he said. The Quicks kept the animals in cages on the property, where many starved to death, Sugg said.
He said evidence indicated some of the dogs had been poisoned and at least one dog had been shot.
Sandra’s defense Patrick Martinez said the abuse was not violent or due to drug addiction but a case of neglect.
“It was an inability to understand the necessity of hygiene,” Martinez said during the hearing. “(Sandra) would make a good case for probation. Family intervention would help, therapy would help, and the couple wouldn’t be resistant to supervision. I do think the children will be better off if their parents were there for them.”
Allan’s defense attorney Jeffrey Van Keulen said both defendants were suffering from PTSD that made them emotionally detached from their children, animals and living conditions.
“It was not an active volitional act but passive negligence,” Van Keulen said during the hearing.
According to court documents, Boggs plead guilty to three counts of fourth-degree felony extreme cruelty to animals and one count of fourth-degree felony conspiracy to commit extreme cruelty to animals.
Boggs told investigators about the operations on the Quicks’ property. Sugg said there was no deal worked out as part of Boggs’ plea.
Boggs’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for later this year.