Animal neglect investigation returns dog to owner - KCTV5

Animal neglect investigation returns dog to owner

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If you don’t like the way Kansas City’s Animal Control is being run, make a change. That’s the city’s message after handling KCTV5’s requests for answers about a dog on the city’s east side.

Friday, KCTV5 told viewers first about Goldie, a dog with festering wounds who was chained to a concrete block near East 38th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue.

Neighbors are disgusted with Animal Control’s decision to return Goldie to his owner.

"I wouldn't have. If you abuse the dog, to me, you automatically lose it," said neighbor Marlin Fye.

Tuesday, Goldie had more freedom in his owner’s back yard, his ears are looking better and he’s being kept on a porch.

“I’m glad that the man is doing something, but the dog should have been taken,” said Fye.

KCTV5 uncovered several documents, showing that Goldie was taken to KC Pet Project over the weekend. Goldie was treated for worms, given antibiotics for his ear wounds, vaccinated and given flea and tick treatments. Ultimately, the veterinarian determined there was no evidence of abuse or neglect. Goldie’s owner was issued a citation for not having a dog license.

"A veterinarian to say on the record for sure that this is not a neglect issue,” said Animal Control Officer Chris Harriman. “Which in this case is what the veterinarian said."

Harriman is the officer in charge of Goldie’s case. KCTV5 was handed his Animal Health and Public Safety Investigative Report.

“On 7-24-15, I spoke on the phone with the owner of the dog, Arthur Leggs. I advised him that the dog would need a longer tether. He told me that he keeps the dog as it is because the dog will try to get out of the fence and the cinder block keeps the dog from running at large. I told Leggs that the tether would need to be at least four times as long as the dog, or approximately ten feed long. He said that he could purchase on, but it would but until 8-1-15 that he got paid and could do so. I recommended he contact Spay and Neuter Kansas City for assistance. I told Leggs that I would give him one week to get the dog a longer tether. I further advised him that he could purchase a product similar to Flysoff to put on the dog’s ears when it is outside. He told me that he is disabled and on a fixed income, but would arrange the tether so that the dog would have more mobility until a longer one could be purchased.”

Dog lovers like Fye say that’s not good enough and are demanding a change in Animal Control’s leadership because they feel they aren’t doing their job. The city is responding to negative social media posts for the first time.

"There are some in the animal community that think officers should have done more,” said City Communications Director Chris Hernandez. “But they have done everything they can do according to the current code."

The city’s Animal Control code is designed to rehabilitate dogs and owners rather than take the dog on site. There are guidelines that also describe situations when an Animal Control Officer may seize the dog immediately, but Goldie’s situation didn’t warrant that action.

“I’m more than frustrated. That pisses me off,” said Fye during a Friday interview.

Instead of sitting back and treating Goldie’s case like others KCTV5 has covered, the city is offering a new way for people to get involved. The city posted Chapter 14 of the city code of ordinances on their website, The city encourages Kansas Citians to make suggestions as to how animal codes can be improved.

Harriman feels the site is a step in the right direction for change. In his tenure with the department he hasn’t seen any real solutions, yet.

“I don’t see these organizations stepping up and offering grants to send officers to advanced animal cruelty training that’s widely available in the state of Missouri,” said Harriman.

Animal Control has rescued nearly 4,000 animals within the past year. 

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