Neighbors say dog is neglected while owner hospitalized

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Neighbors describe deplorably dirty conditions and a dog in distress.

“Negligence; that’s what I see,” said Kenneth Brackley. “That’s not right -- human or animal.”

Brackley’s elderly neighbor owns a chow which lives next door. However, the dog’s owner has been hospitalized since January following an accident.

Brackley says a friend or relative of the woman is supposed to be caring for the dog, but that doesn’t appear to be happening.

“I decided to take care of it myself; give it fresh water, give it fresh food, and I would lower it with a rope and with a bucket,” Brackley said. "The homeowner warned me the dog is only loyal to her."

Other neighbors have stepped in with food and water, as well.

“I know Rochelle loves her dog,” said Janice Heinrich. “The dog is stressed out right now. He hasn’t had his owner in the home for months.”

Due to unsanitary conditions in the backyard, some neighbors called Mesa Animal Control. A notice left on the door by animal control officers, dated April 29, listed possible violations including cruelty to animals and unsanitary premises.

However, neighbors say animal control didn’t return to the neighborhood to check on the dog until May 7 when television news crews were also called to the neighborhood.

“We’re trying to do what we can,” said Animal Control Supervisor Diane Brady. “We can't just go in, tear down the gate or bust open the door."

“You can’t remove a dog because of unsanitary premises; you can only remove a dog if it’s in imminent danger,” she continued.

Brackley says the dog would be in imminent danger if neighbors hadn’t come to the rescue.

“A dog shouldn’t have to die with no food and no water,” Brackley said.

Brackley told 3TV that animal control advised him not to feed or give water to the dog, so officers could determine whether the caretaker was in fact showing up to the home.

Late Wednesday evening, Brady says she did contact the dog’s owner who expects to be released from her medical facility next week.