The management company responsible for the Allegany County Animal Control in Cumberland, Maryland, admits to its failure to respond to multiple calls in a timely manner regarding dogs left in a foreclosed home in Bel Air, resulting in the death of nine dogs, according to Cumberland Times-News.
Four calls were made to animal control between July 7, 2014 and July 28 but an animal control officer never checked on the house until August 13, in which a notice was posted asking the home owner to call animal control within 24 hours. The following day, 12 dogs were discovered, nine of which were deceased. An attempt was made on August 12 but dismissed because of wind and rain.
The foreclosed home on McGill Drive in Bel Air was vacant, except for the 12 dogs abandoned there. The house went into foreclosure December 5, 2013 and the dogs were not discovered until August 14, 2014. Neighbors placed multiple calls to animal control but no one ever came. Neighbors said the owners left the property a few months before the dogs were found and the dogs could be heard howling. Eventually, the howling became less and less.
A report put out by a review committee cited that phone calls were logged improperly and any follow-up was slow or non-existent. According to the report, as posted by Cumberland Times-News, three calls “were logged with sufficient information to identify the McGill address but were not completed with all the information required by protocol.” The July 7th phone call was completed as required but animal control never responded to the call.
The Allegany County Animal Shelter Management Foundation, which has an agreement with the county to run the animal shelter and operations of animal control, takes full responsibility for the deaths of the dogs. The foundation claims to have initiated changes to better serve the community. No disciplinary action will be taken against the shelter or animal control.
The three dogs who made it out alive were taken to Mountainview Veterinary Services in Keyser, West Virginia, and are currently doing very well.
Owners Christopher and Rachael Preston have been charged with animal cruelty.
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