I want to tell you a little about Pete before you get to the pictures and story. A piece of my heart broke off and died the day I met Pete. His story has scarred me for life. I will never forget him and I will always use Pete as my motivation to keep getting out there, as hard as it is.
This happened back in June 2010 and I have thought often of blogging about it, but it is so sad and so horrific that I never can bring myself to do it. I will give it my best shot to try and put this into words. It’s difficult to this day to think about.
Last June Chain of Hope received a call from someone that was referred to us by Wayside Waifs. A woman called because her dog “couldn’t get up and hadn’t eaten in 3 weeks”. After talking with this woman for awhile and hearing about the horrendous condition this dog must be in, Michele said that it sounded like the dog was dying and the woman replied that she thought he was.
I headed over to the house. I had a news team with me that day doing a piece on Chain of Hope. When I arrived, I got out and explained to the man that I had a news team with me and he put up his hand and said “no cameras”. This guy had recently gotten out of prison. This was his mother’s house and she was supposed to take care of the dog while he was in prison. When I pulled up, he was standing in the front yard with his brother and sister. Their mother was in her 80’s and clearly could not care for the dog. However, one of the men told me that he and/or his sister were at their mother’s house at least a couple of times a week. Apparently, no one ever checked on the dog. The news people stayed in the van and I walked to the backyard to see the dog. What I saw horrified me.
A Rottweiler was laying in the far corner of the backyard, in the mud. He was on a big tow chain and he had flies all over him. I went closer to him and could see that he was emaciated-I could see all of his bones. He was covered in mud and diarrhea. His eyes were infected and very sunken in due to severe dehydration. I looked down and saw that most of one foot was gone. There was a terrible wound there where his foot should be. It was red, bloody and inflamed. The man hadn’t wanted any pictures, but I managed to snap one of Pete struggling to pull himself up, but he couldn’t. He was too weak.
I was horrifed and very angry, but I just knew I had to hurry and get him to the vet-I’d deal with the people later. I made them sign him over to me and took a pet taxi back to the backyard. The man grabbed the chain that was on Pete and tried to kind of “fling” him into the pet taxi. It was horrific to watch-the toal lack of compassion and concern for this poor dog. This man hadn’t even wanted to touch his dog. I took the chain out of his hand. Pete was really struggling getting pulled up by the chain-he was in much pain. I yelled at the guy that he shouldn’t be afraid to touch his own dog. I knelt down in the mud and took off the big, thick collar that was around Pete’s neck and the big, heavy tow chain. I lifted his broken body into the pet taxi and we carried him to the van. As we loaded him, one of the men patted the top of the pet taxi, said “bye boy” and went in the house. He did not seem sad, he did not seem ashamed, it was like it was no big deal.
I texted the Humane Society of Greater KC that I was coming in with him. I’ve taken many, many animals to the Humane Society for medical treatment and too many times for euthanasia. The nature of Chain of Hope’s work is that we are going to find animals in severe conditions and at times that only ends with humane euthanasia.
When we got in there with Pete, I looked at Dr. Taylor and Coleen (tech) and I said, “you have to do everything you can to save this boy”. They looked at me and at each other-I had never said that ever about any animal I’d brought in, no matter the circumstances. I am a realist and unfortunately have had to euthanize many animals over the years due to their condition. Pete was different. He had suffered and endured unspeakable neglect and pain for a very long time. I wanted a chance to show him a good life, to show him that all people aren’t mean and hateful, to have him lay on someone’s sofa.
Dr. Taylor was looking him over and I was really reading her face and I knew it wasn’t good. She examined the foot and strongly felt that it was cancer. Pete had fleshy cancer tissue in his mouth. I’m sure this is why he “hadn’t eaten in 3 weeks”. He couldn’t eat and he slowly almost starved to death. Pete had broken teeth, he was severely dehydrated, totally emaciated, he could not stand up. It was beyond sad, beyond total despair. Pete was too far gone. He was suffering, he was in pain. So much so that he was trying to bite us when Dr. Taylor would try to examine him. It was excrutiating to be right there witnessing this anguish. I looked at Dr. Taylor and I said, “You’re not going to be able to save him, are you?” and she nodded her head no.
We humanely ended Pete’s life. It was a relief to see the suffering stop. After he was gone, Dr. Taylor examined the foot more closely and cut into it a little bit, only to discover that there were large, mature maggots in there. It was disgusting.
I was so sad and so angry at these people. I can’t even fathom having that little compassion for a living creature. It is beyond my comprehension, as I know it is yours. Total, absolute neglect of this poor animal. Allowing this suffering to go on and on like it did. Chain of Hope decided to try and prosecute this case. If ever there was someone who needed to be held accountable and suffer consequences for animal neglect/abuse it was these people. We began getting our documents in order. As you can see, we have excellent photos (we have many more). Dr. Taylor performed a necropsy and sent tissue to the lab. It came back as cancerous tissue, just as she had thought. We have tried to move forward with this case, but it isn’t going anywhere. We have excellent documentation: a necropsy report, a tissue report, an excellent veterinarian report, my statement and photos, etc. I would like to get some kind of justice for Pete. I am frustrated that it isn’t moving. It may never go through the court system.
Let me assure you, however, that there is justice for Pete. It is the motivation he gave to me to keep getting out there and looking for more “Petes”. When I want to quit, I just have to think about Pete and then I know that I can’t. I know what’s out there. All you have to do is drive around the inner city, go up and down alleys and take a look around and you’ll see the suffering. Thanks to your support, Chain of Hope is taking this on head-on. We are fighting the good fight out there. Thanks for keeping us going.