August 17, 2006 Bainbridge -- It's a heartbreaking discovery. A half dozen malnourished and abused dogs were found. They were taken to the humane society where three of them are now recovering, but one of them had to be put to sleep.
The city of Bainbridge and the human society are working together to create tougher animal abuse ordinances. What a difference a week's made for these two dogs. Pictures show just how malnourished and thin they were when Animal control officers rescued them.
"All of the ribs were showing, hip bones, still some of it, and if it has that hour glass shape, real sunk in here at the stomach," says Bainbridge Animal Control Officer Chuck Wesley.
Some of the pictures of the dog that was put down were just too graphic to show. One dog has mange and is being treated.
Animal officials say financial circumstances are sometimes to blame, but encourage owners to make sure their pets get enough food. "Be aware of the weight, you know, if you see the ribs, the vertebrae protruding, you know it's pretty evidence of what dog abuse is," Wesley said.
While they're trying to educate pet owners, the Humane Society and City may step in with stricter laws. Right now animal cruelty is just a misdemeanor. "In reality that's not tough enough," said Humane Society President Joshua Bell.
In the next several months, the City and Humane Society hope to put new ordinances on the books that toughen the penalty for animal cruelty. "Right now we don't have a lot of direction for law enforcement to go forward with these prosecutions because there just isn't a category out there such as neglect," said Bell.
In just a week's time, Kaleb is already beginning to put on weight and shows signs of a full recovery. He'll eventually be available for adoption, but animal control officials hopes this serves as a warning to others, to take care of their pets.
One of the men who lived in the house is charged with cruelty to animals.