This is an open letter to Mayor James and City Manager Schulte regarding Kansas City animal control.
You have a fundamental problem in your animal control department and so far, you have basically ignored it. Today, I offer more recent evidence of a job poorly done. Please try to understand the public’s frustration.
The filth that this dog is forced to live in is disgusting. We called animal control on this situation and we got back “No violations!” Really? Does this look like a sanitary, humane environment for any dog to live in? The water was black, there was feces everywhere and trash everywhere. Animal control had the power to get this dog into a better situation, but they said “No violations”. How in the world does a situation like this come back as “No Violations”? When Chain of Hope saw that this was No Violations, we went back over. We could not believe that animal control would leave an animal in this mess, but they did. After we went back to check on this dog again after animal control had been there, we discovered that there was also a dog tied in back, living in trash, feces, with upside down bowls. Animal control did not seem to have discovered that there was a second dog in the back. No one would’ve even known about this dog if Chain of Hope, a private organization, had not followed up. The black dog was still sitting in filth and there was a second dog here. We called this into animal control again. This time citations were written. My volunteer called to find out what violations were noted here and was transferred to a supervisor’s phone. She left a message last Thurs, 9-24-15. She still has not heard from anyone. The point is that if Chain of Hope had not followed up, both of these dogs would still be sitting there in their filth because the first officer went out and said No Violations. How many times does this happen? How many times does a citizen call an animal concern in and think that it is handled and it’s not? We get “No Violations”, “Unable to Make Contact”, and “Unable to Locate Animals” all the time as results of our cases.
This dog was called into Chain of Hope by a postal worker. It was very skinny and had no food, no water and lived in a very trashy area. This also came back “No Violations”.
This house is one that we had helped in the past. There have been many different dogs at this house. We worked with these people and finally got them down to one outdoor dog and one indoor dog. We neutered the outdoor pit mix, took him an igloo and in the winter on a very cold day, we took a crate. The news was following us around and they did a story about us taking a crate to the owner and bringing his pit mix inside. All was well.
Several months later, a neighbor told me that there was another big dog back here so we stopped our services to this house because we do not condone people that are currently receiving help from us getting another animal. I found out last week that this guy also had a new, little pit bull puppy living on a chain outside. It was only about 10 weeks old and it was chained up in total filth. It had a nasty crate with feces in it. There were also 2 adult shepherd mixes chained up in squalor. When the owner came out, I asked him where his black and white pit mix was and he told me that he was dead. I asked him what happened and he said, “I don’t know, I just came out one day and he was dead on his chain”. This is a picture of the dog who he found dead. We had neutered this boy, taken him an igloo and brought him a crate in the winter. We had offered every resource to help this man take care of this dog and look how he was living and what happened to him.
How irresponsible and cruel these people were. He took on these two shep mixes after the other dog died because he needed a “guard dog back by his recycled cans”. He told me that they weren’t good guard dogs, so he needed to get something else. I told him that he needed to sign that puppy over to us, that he couldn’t keep it like this. I told him the shepherds were living in filth, etc. He signed the puppy over and we left. A couple of days later, we called animal control because those poor shepherds were living in such filth. They were dirty and the bigger one had dreads hanging off of him. This came back as No Violations.
Also when we were at this location, the two shepherd mixes were tangled up. We had the guy untangle them and suggested he separate them further so this didn’t happen. His response to me was, “Oh, they get tangled every day.” they might not have been tangled the day animal control went there, but there were plenty of other violations here as well. I don’t even know if animal control looked at the little matted dog in the house, but it’s there.
I will say that things are a little cleaner now, but this still came back as no violations. It is not even documented as having given this owner a warning. Where’s the documentation, the citations written to track this repeat offender, so that when whatever dogs he has at the time end up in these disgusting conditions again, there is documentation and a history for a house such as this that just keeps repeatedly getting dogs and treating them badly? Build a case against owners like this! Why is the benefit of the doubt always given to the owner and not the suffering animal? As you can see from the picture of the now dead dog, this place was a hell hole in June of 2014, it is again and it will be in the future. The ones paying the price over here are the animals this man chooses to chain up.
Pictures speak a thousand words and we always have pictures to back up what we’re saying. How can you ignore this? We have sent many, many cases in with pictures and documentation in the past to no avail. The approval rating for your animal control department went down more than 2 percentage points this past year. Citizens are not happy with animal control and we are extremely frustrated. What else do you need to admit that you have some fundamental problems in this department? There is a lack of leadership, lack of accountability and lack of compassion. We aren’t talking about vacant building and abandoned cars, Mr. Mayor and Mr. Shulte. We are talking about living creatures that are suffering and allowed to continue to suffer by the very department that is supposed to help them. That is why people are so upset. To look at some of these cases and say “No Violations” is absurd. But yet, are these officers ever held accountable for their poor decisions in the field? Where is the leadership, the training and the accountability?
Finally, I close with the fact that Goldie (and we all know who Goldie is) is back on her chain, living in the back corner of the back yard, just like I said she would be. Animal Control decided to to bend over backwards for this irresponsible owner and bring Goldie in for medical care and then monitored her for awhile to appease the public. I knew that would all die down and I knew Goldie would be back on her chain and she is. Animal control had the opportunity to remove her from her situation back in July, take her to the shelter and give her an opportunity to get rehomed into a caring, loving home. Instead, she is destined to live her life like so many other dogs in Kansas City, lonely, sad, chained and unloved.
You have had many, many complaints about your animal control department, especially this last year. The approval rating is down and animals are being left in inhumane and unsanitary conditions with no consequences for the people leaving them there. Where is the compassion? This city is tired of this and we plead with you to finally do something about it.