Crime, Fire + Courts

Dead, starving dogs found at local animal rescue site

By From page A1 | August 03, 2014


Renee Lancaster of Rotts of Friends Animal rescue cares for Pumpkin, one of the dogs taken from the Second Chance Rottweiler Rescue facility. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

A Yolo County Sheriff’s Department investigation is underway following the discovery last week of dead and severely malnourished dogs at a rural Davis Rottweiler rescue organization.

Animal Services Sgt. Mike Nevis said officers were summoned to Second Chance Rottweiler Rescue, 26767 County Road 96, after “one of their board members went out there and found things not to be up to par.”

“It was very unkept, a lot of fecal matter, things like that,” Nevis said.

Three dogs were found dead on the property, while 11 were still alive but had no access to food or water despite recent triple-digit temperatures.

The surviving dogs were confiscated Wednesday after “we determined that (the property owner) was unable to care for the animals,” sheriff’s Lt. Martin Torres said.

Second Chance Rottweiler Rescue is owned and operated by Elaine Greenberg, who, according to several non-law enforcement sources familiar with last week’s events, was hospitalized for an unspecified medical condition around the same time the dogs were removed.

“I have no comment,” Greenberg said when reached by phone Saturday afternoon. One of the organization’s board members, Vincent Augusta, also declined to comment, referring questions to Yolo County authorities.

No arrests had been made or charges filed as of Friday, sheriff’s officials said.

Nevis said it was unclear how long ago the three dead dogs had passed away, but “they were very well decomposed. It was pretty bad.”

“You could clearly see where the dogs died,” said Renee Lancaster, owner of the Rotts of Friends animal rescue operation on County Road 29, who took photos and video of the conditions on the Second Chance property after learning of the confiscation.

Lancaster has since taken in the 11 living dogs, three of whom were deemed to be in such critical condition that she sat up with them the first full night they were in her care.

“We’re feeding them four times a day, and they’re acting like they’ve never eaten,” Lancaster said, estimating that some of the animals, likely obtained from area animal shelters, may have gone weeks without food.

Most of the dogs arrived weighing about 50 pounds — about half their normal weight — the outlines of their bones clearly visible through their dark coats. Three had to receive fluids intravenously, including one, Pumpkin, who on Saturday lay listless inside his kennel, unable to stand or eat and drink on his own.

“He’s just a little skeleton with hair,” Lancaster said, stroking the emaciated, dehydrated dog. “This is flabbergasting, knowing these dogs were in an area of strict control where someone should have been taking care of them. She should have known better, or reached out for help.”

Second Chance’s website has been taken down, but a listing on Petfinder.com details some of the nonprofit organization’s past successes, including the rescues of more than 110 Rottweilers one particular year while others were placed in foster homes.

“We are made up of a small group of volunteers who donate their own time and money to rescue the Rotties,” the listing says. “The goal of Second Chance Rottweiler Rescue Inc. is to rescue Rottweilers from kill animal shelters, humane societies and other rescue organizations where otherwise the dogs would be euthanized.”

Nevis, the animal services sergeant, said his agency has had “dealings” with Greenberg in the past, “but not in this manner.” Most contacts, he added, have involved dogs getting loose from the property.

“She pretty much flies under the radar,” Nevis said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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