Dogs at a local business are suffering just to stay alive. So says an employee turned whistleblower who asked Contact 13 to investigate the plight of more than 100 animals at a local rescue. Have they truly been saved or is this another case of rescue gone wrong?
Dogs in distress.
"The head and the back has been eaten by fleas, flies and mites," says Adrienne Gallotta.
And confined in cages.
"They're not being walked."
With little human contact and not enough care.
"That's poop next to the food."
Adrienne took cell phone video and pictures this summer while working at K-9 Barracks and Bath on Nellis Boulevard and Judson Avenue.
"These dogs are being caged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
She says a Shih Tzu named Soda Pop was in desperate need of medical attention for a bad ear infection. She worried about cages stacked on cages. And though some dogs got rags or newspapers, others lived on bare concrete or wire.
She says her concerns about the animals' welfare fell on deaf ears.
"That was the reason that I came to you guys because you can't get anywhere with anybody," says Adrienne.
Elizabeth Rubin owns K-9 Barracks, but most of the animals there are from her organization Adopt A Rescue Pet, or ARP.
As Contact 13 reported in June, LVMPD served a search warrant at K-9 Barracks and found more than a hundred dogs. They documented 18 confined to improper cages and five in need of medical attention.
"It has become a warehouse of dogs that are either un-adoptable or old or sick," says Adrienne.
ARP is supposed to foster and find forever homes for animals. But Adrienne learned for many dogs, K-9 Barracks isn't a temporary stop.
One of the dogs who lived there was Big Momma.
"She couldn't get up. She probably should have been put down some time ago," Adrienne explains. "She had a big sore from sleeping on this concrete for as long as she did."
Elizabeth Rubin did not return our calls, texts or email, so we took our questions to K-9 Barracks. An employee told us she was not in.
We asked the employee to call Rubin to see if she'll meet us for an interview and let us tour her facilities.
"I was told that you are trespassing on private property and that you need to leave," the employee said.
County Animal Control records document problems at K-9 Barracks for years.
In November 2013 they noted strong odors, stacked, overcrowded cages and "five dogs standing on bare wire." In July 2011 an officer wrote, "... many violations of overcrowding, sanitation and no water." And as far back as June 2008, they advised Rubin about overcrowding and not enough staff to keep kennels clean.
The Animal Foundation refuses to work with ARP.
"Imagine if you were being deprived of what's innate in you or natural," says Michelle Quigley, Animal Foundation's director of operations. "Keeping animals, especially dogs and cats, in a cage for days and days and days or weeks at a time is not normal and it's not humane."
As the county's contracted shelter, the Lied Animal Foundation routinely works with rescue partners throughout the valley. But they cut ties with ARP in 2009 after inspecting one of the rescue's locations in Nye County. Animal Foundation provided Contact 13 with the following details:
In October of 2009, a high level employee of The Animal Foundation visited one of Adopt A Rescue Pet's (ARP) facilities after several statements were publicly made by ARP about their financial situation and inability to afford to provide proper care for their animals. The findings of the visit (inadequate housing, veterinary care, exercise and socialization, and poor nutrition were just some of the main concerns) left us no option but to cease our transfer partnership with ARP.
In June of 2015, ARP submitted a request to become a Paw Partner (what we now call our transfer partners) again. After a visit to one of their facilities by two high level employees, we determined that all of the concerns listed above still existed at alarming levels. The Animal Foundation maintains, and requires our Paw Partners to maintain, the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare for all animals in our/their care and because ARP is not meeting these standards their request was declined.
"Once you know there are problems, and people are pointing them out to you," says Quigley. "You have a duty to either address those problems or maybe do something different."
Adrienne says the ARP dogs need to be rescued all over again.
"If we do not speak up, if someone doesn't share this voice of these dogs, they will never have a chance."
LVMPD has an open criminal investigation through their Animal Cruelty detail. So far, no one has been charged. Animal Control also has an open case.