This was a true house of horrors that I have been involved with for years. There’s so much that has happened at this house that this blog will be a little long, but I think you will see the frustrations that we have to deal with on a daily basis.
We came across this house about 3 1/2 yrs ago. We were working in the area of 27th and Garfield when we saw a dog chained in a front yard that was fenced. It’s conditions were minimal, but the entire front yard was fenced and the gate to get to the front door was padlocked. There was a fence all around the back as well. We were yelling “hello” and the dog was barking, so eventually the woman came outside. We told her who we were and asked her if she needed help with her dog. Turns out she had 3 dogs chained up and one of them, Brownie, had just had 10 puppies that morning! The woman let us in and took us around back. There was shit everywhere. There was junk and trash and broken down vehicles. The smell was so horrible that I literally had the dry heaves while trying to access this situation. I have been in some nasty backyards, but this one was so filthy and disgusting that I really could not even stomach being there. I asked the lady where the puppies were and she pointed under a broken down pick-up truck. I looked under there and there was the precious momma on a chain. She had dug a hole under the broken down truck and she had put her 10 puppies down in the dirt hole.
Because the woman was receptive to our help, we decided to jump in and improve this situation. I crawled under the truck and passed each puppy one by one out to another volunteer, who laid them on a sheet that we had brought. We had one of our wonderful home-made dog houses on the truck and we set that up for momma and babies. The people would not bring them in the house or give them to us, so we hooked them up.
There was another dog chained up in a trashy, disgusting area. His name was Roscoe and we fixed him as well. There was a black lab named Sparkles that was chained far in the back and the only shelter she had was a pet taxi, which had rain water in in. This was an over-whelming situation. The people were receptive to getting their animals spayed and neutered. We got Sparkles fixed up with a proper dog house.
We put the dogs on tie-outs instead of chains, gave them water buckets, put out hay for them, gave them food, got all of the owner’s info. and began a long process of trying to get these people to step up and take better care of their animals. We put them on a 2x weekly monitoring list at first until we could see if the people were going to step up.
We began educating them about their animals’ care. They would not surrender the litter to us because they already had relatives wanting some of the puppies, etc. We run into this often when we find a litter-they’re already “promised”. We educated them about spaying and neutering and they agreed to hang onto the entire litter until they were around 8 weeks old and they would let us spay/neuter the puppies before they gave them away.
As time went on, this situation did not progress. They gave away all of the puppies too early before we could get them all fixed. This was maddening after all we’d done for them. Now there were 9 puppies out there unaltered, because of course they had to keep one. We were extremely frustrated with these people, but we stayed calm because they did let me bring in all of their adults for spay/neuter plus the puppy they were keeping. They even began keeping the puppy in the house.
After a while, things began slipping again. I eventually called animal control, who went out and did nothing. Unfortunately, that is often the case. Because this situation had turned rather tense, the people did not want us over there anymore. They were no longer receptive. Their entire yard was fenced and padlocked, so there really was nothing we could do. As hard as it was, we had to walk away from this situation after a lot of effort, stress and work. The only saving grace here was that we had finally gotten everyone spayed and neutered and they all had decent dog houses.
We had no contact with these people for months and months. One day we were working in the hood not far from them and they saw our van and stopped and asked if they could have some dog food. I saw this as an opportunity to establish contact with them again so that we could get over there and access these dogs. We kind of began a relationship again and we were able to go over and see the dogs. Roscoe, the shepherd mix, did not seem himself. He laid in the dog house and just acted like he didn’t feel well. After visiting a few more times, I told them that something was very wrong with Roscoe. He was totally lethargic, always just laying in his house, no enthusiasm when we came to visit, wasn’t eating very well, etc. I was very concerned about him. Of course, the owners had no money, so I asked if I could take him to the vet. I told them that he might have to be euthanized if it was advanced heart worm disease or something like that. I told them that he didn’t look good to me at all. The woman told me that she didn’t want him to suffer (yeah-right) and that I could take him and if he needed to be put down, to go ahead and do it. I had her sign a paper stating that I could do that if necessary. Roscoe was barely holding on. I took him over to the Humane Society of Greater KC and had him looked at. He was extremely heart worm positive and their diagnosis was that he was in the end stages of heart worm disease. He was past the point of being able to treat him. His abdomen was full of fluid and his heart sounded terrible. I held Roscoe in my lap and loved on him as finally, his misery and pain was ended.
Later in the afternoon, the owner called me and said that her husband had come home and that he wanted me to bring Roscoe back and they “would take him to a vet” (again-yeah right). They’d never taken any of their animals to a vet ever and I knew that they wouldn’t have taken Roscoe either. He would just laid there and died a horrible death, probably in a matter of a few days. I told her what the deal was and of course, she was mad. I really didn’t care. Roscoe had laid out there and suffered for too long. Finally, he was at peace. What a horrible life he’d endured.
With Roscoe gone, guess who took his place out on his chain? The puppy they had kept. Disgusting. Since these people were mad at us once again (for doing the right thing!), we were not welcome there again. We could only watch as we drove by and run over and try to stick treats and things through the fence. The puppy and her momma were chained on the side of the house and Sparkles was chained in the back still. There was a crappy privacy fence across the back and there was an alley, so we would drive down the alley and try to get treats to Sparkles, but she was harder to get access to.
Finally, about 3 weeks ago when we were in 0 degrees and it was snowing a lot, etc. I went by and Brownie, the momma, had gotten pretty thin. The puppy was emaciated. Sparkles was hard to tell what was going on with because she was hard to see. I went by one morning in the freezing cold with the snow coming down and there was the puppy (now grown) sitting there in the snow. Her dog house was in two pieces and she was just sitting there , getting snowed on, shaking and shaking. It was bitter, bitter cold. All of their water buckets were always on their sides-no water. This was totally unacceptable. I called this into animal control and moved on to get hay out to as many dogs as I could. The next morning, I called in my confirmation number on the case to see what animal control had done. The report I got back was that they didn’t see 3 dogs there, they only saw one sitting on the front porch. I almost blew a gasket!!! I told them that if that was the case that they either hadn’t gone out at all or they’d gone to the wrong house. I have never been by there when those dogs were NOT on their chains and the front porch was enclosed, so you wouldn’t be able to see a dog on there at all. They told me that the case was now closed and I asked them to reopen it and send someone else out to the house. I also told her that I was going over there right then and see what the situation was. I did and everything was exactly as it’d been before when I’d called it in. This meant that the poor “puppy” had been sitting out in this blizzard all night long with NO shelter. The dog house was still broken in two pieces, etc. I took a bunch of pictures and called the director of animal control. I told him that I had pictures and that this needed to be resolved now. He had a supervisor call me back to tell me that they had an officer on the way back over there. I told them that I was heading over again as well because I wanted to see these dogs removed! As we turned the corner, there was animal control and two police cars with all their lights going. The owner were standing out front and animal control finally took all of the dogs.
I went over to animal control to see them a few days later. This is a picture of “Brownie”, who was the momma we had met so long ago giving birth under a truck. I could not let her go down after the horrible life she’d been through. Chain of Hope pulled her out of animal control and she is now up for adoption. She is so happy to have food, water and love!
Her daughter is still at Halfway Home. They are calling her Ladybelle. She is a brindle shepx. We could only pull one dog, and we opted to pull the momma who had lived in hell the longest. Sparkles, the black dog that was chained in the back, was very ill and Halfway Home had to euthanize her. When I saw her in the bite section, she had massive amounts of bloody diarrhea in her kennel, poor baby.
This was a depressing, exhaustive case to work on. It was very, very sad and a lot of suffering had occurred at this house of horrors. I want you to understand by this story how Chain of Hope operates. We monitor houses all day long, every day. We have many, many dogs that we check on weekly, monthly, whatever it takes. We don’t just spay and neuter the animals at a house and move on. We do not walk away from these animals if we have it in our power to stay involved. That, I believe, is what makes us unique. We know that certain animals, even though we get them in and get them fixed, are at much danger of falling through the cracks. We try to stay on top of these houses and these animals to make sure that doesn’t happen. If it does, we then have to deal with animal control, which we will do. We continue to drive by this house and check for them getting more animals.
Keep in mind, this is just ONE house. We deal with hundreds and hundreds of addresses. It takes a lot of time, a lot of frustration and a lot of stress to deal with so many of these cases, but we are committed to being out there for these animals. Thank you for keeping us going. We are all a lot of them have.