April 29, 2013
Sometimes people find it hard to relate statistics and reports to needless pet suffering and killing but a photo of a single mistreated animal will stir their blood. In some cases, these photos are too disturbing to post on the blog. (Warning: all the links below contain disturbing images of a dog who appears to be deeply suffering and on the brink of death.)
Anna Nelson is the former ACO for Wareham, MA. An anonymous tip led the current ACO to her home and her senior dog:
The 10-year-old terrier mix could hardly stand and was diseased and jaundiced.
“It was incredibly malnourished, had parasites — internal and external — and in fact, too ill to be saved. It had to be euthanized,” said Rob Halpin of the MSPCA.
Ms. Nelson is facing a felony animal cruelty charge. She was a no show for her arraignment, forcing authorities to issue a warrant and send police to arrest her. Although she allegedly neglected her suffering pet for months, when her own ass was in hot water she promptly posted bail to get herself out of jail. Ms. Nelson is due in court today.
Case Update: ‘Purple Hearted Puppies’ Owners Forced Dogs to Resort to Cannibalism to Survive, Received Fine
April 13, 2013
Regular readers may remember the cruelty case against the owners of Purple Hearted Puppies in AL (see the original post, update #1 and update #2). This was a private “shelter” operated out of the home of mother and daughter Roberta and Sharon Dueitt. In January 2012, the Dueitts reportedly left town for 2 weeks while 200 animals were left starving on their property. Having solicited donations from the public, they had the means to care for the animals, they just left them to suffer and die in cages, surrounded by bags of food they could see but not touch. At the time of their arrest, authorities indicated there would be hundreds of felony and misdemeanor charges filed against the Dueitts.
Yesterday the Dueitts pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. They received a year’s probation and a $100,000 fine payable to a local HS. They have never spent a day in jail and never will, at least for these crimes. They can start up their “shelter” again in 5 years.
I will never forget the video taken during the raid which showed officers frantically pouring food into the cages and cats desperately reaching their front legs out the bars and mewing. Purple Hearts are medals awarded to soldiers who are wounded or killed in the line of duty. The Dueitts wounded or killed many. They were rewarded with a monetary fine. Shame on the Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office for agreeing to this unjust plea deal.
January 16, 2013
On Sunday, 149 dogs were seized from Willamette Animal Rescue in Oregon and the organization’s president, Alicia Inglish was charged with 120 counts of animal neglect and one count of evidence tampering:
While 120 of the dogs met the legal standard for neglect, all were in need of medical care.
Don Thompson, spokesman for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, said authorities had inspected the facility twice previously but the allegations which led to those inspections turned out to be unfounded. This time however, dogs were found in terrible conditions at the 7500 square foot building used by Willamette Animal Rescue:
Inside were 149 dogs, some starving, some whose eyes were sealed shut with bodily fluids, authorities said. As many as five dogs were kept in kennels designed for one. The stench was overwhelming. Waste ran down from one crate perched atop many others, to pool on the concrete floor.
Sharon Harmon, executive director of the Oregon Humane Society which took 110 of the seized dogs, describes the neglect as “tragic”:
Some of the dogs were in such an advanced state of starvation that technicians will have to use a “refeeding program” to reintroduce small amounts of easily digestible food.
“Those dogs were shut down. They don’t show interest in food,” Harmon said.
Harmon said officials found just two bags of dog food in the warehouse, along with the dogs’ primary food: stale bread.
Someone who adopted a dog from Willamette Animal Rescue one year ago recalled paying between $150 – $250 for the pet, who was unhealthy. The adopter never saw the building.
Ms. Inglish reportedly worked at a pet supply store for about 6 months last year but stopped showing up for work in September.
A former volunteer says the dogs were pulled from pet killing facilities in CA and were fed both canned and dry food. He believes Ms. Inglish simply became overwhelmed because of her desire to save the dogs from being killed at the pound.
The Marion Co pound took in 25 of the dogs and the remaining 14 went to the Willamette HS.
There are a number of photos at the links and the dogs do appear to be starving and neglected. There are even tiny adult dogs with their bones showing who would require a very small amount of food daily to maintain their body weight, especially considering that the dogs were reportedly not exercised. AP has a story on the case as well. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said they expect to make further arrests as the investigation continues.
One of my concerns in this case, as in many similar cases, is that the dogs were removed from an apparently neglectful situation and taken to shelters where their lot in life should be immediately improved. But the day after the dogs were taken to area shelters, a reporter touring the Oregon Humane Society wrote:
The dogs remained in the condition they were found in, with feces matted in one brown miniature pinscher’s coat and yellow vomit staining the piebald white-and-brown coat of a Chihuahua mix.
The same article mentions the dogs’ social skills will be assessed “to determine whether they can be adopted.” I think it’s safe to say that starving and/or sick dogs crammed into filthy cages 24/7 probably have poor social skills right now, at best. Behavioral assessments should not be made at this time or at any time in the near future. At the very least, the dogs need a chance to regain their physical health and have some of their social needs addressed through regular walks, bathing, play and other care before a fair evaluation can be conducted.
I hope these dogs will immediately receive the care and sheltering they need while the legal case is sorted and ultimately find loving homes.
(Thank you Clarice for sending me the links on this story.)