We need animal shelters to care for our communities' lost and homeless pets until they can be reunited with their owners or adopted to new ones. The city of Dillingham, Alaska runs an animal shelter and apparently employs an animal control officer to care for the dogs. In early December, a city employee noticed the snow surrounding the windowless warehouse which serves as the dog pound was pristine - seemingly no one had been to the pound in some time. The employee got the police chief and drove to the shelter to check on the dogs.
Inside, they found the heat had been turned off. There was a 50 pound bag of kibble but no water. Trash and feces covered the floor and every single dog in the city's care - six at the time - was dead:
"I've never seen animals desecrated quite to this extent," said Jim Hagee, a Chugiak veterinarian who frequently practices in Dillingham. "The cannibalism is really what got to me."As for the AC officer who was paid to care for the dogs:
Decomposed dog carcasses were in cages or curled on the plywood floor.
A black husky found inside a plastic bag was likely one of the first to go, Hagee told police in his report. A 14-week-old Rottweiler puppy wearing a pink camouflage collar was one of the last.Hagee estimates the dogs were left to fend for themselves for four to six weeks.
City officials say the dogs had been in the care of Community Service Officer Travis Barnett. He has been suspended without pay.
Police wrote that Barnett admitted to "abandoning his duty to care for or humanely euthanize two dogs in his care," according to a Dillingham police report provided to Hagee.
Barnett said a third dog was left dead at the shelter and he didn't know where the other three came from, according to the report.
He didn't know where three of the dogs came from. Well let's see, maybe they heard your hellhole of a shelter was such a happenin' joint, they flew in from Hawaii to check the place out. Maybe they were left by aliens. Jesus Tap Dancing Christ.
The city opened its shelter in 2005. Prior to that, strays were kept at a local pet boarding business owned by Deanna Hardin:
[S]ince word of the dead dogs surfaced in a radio report in December, some people are reluctant to report strays to the city, Hardin said.Yeah, I'd guess so.
Ms. Hardin is seeking a contract with the city to resume caring for the community's strays since the current "shelter" has been closed.
Whatever the outcome of the city's investigation and future shelter arrangements, it's too late for a Rottweiler puppy wearing a pink camo collar and 5 other dogs.