The president of a rural Davis Rottweiler rescue operation where dead and starving dogs were discovered last month has been removed from her position, according to a letter written by the organization’s board of directors.
Posted on the rescue’s website, the letter offers additional details regarding recent events at Second Chance Rottweiler Rescue Inc. and the welfare of its owner, Elaine Greenberg, who has been the subject of a criminal investigation by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.
That case has been forwarded to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for review, though a decision regarding charges had not been made as of Friday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven said.
According to the letter — the full text of which can be read at www.scrottrescue.com — the first signs of something amiss at the County Road 96 rescue arose on July 23, when a board member went to the property to help care for the dogs.
“Unlike the past 12 years, during which time the facilities were clean and the dogs were well cared for and had plenty of food, water, and veterinary services, July 23 was dramatically different,” the letter says. The dogs were not barking as much as usual, and Greenberg appeared “to have suffered some sort of medical issue, possibly a stroke or some sort of mental confusion.”
Greenberg declined the board member’s offer to take her to the hospital but did allow him to inspect the property, where he encountered filthy kennels along with three long-dead and 11 malnourished dogs, even though Greenberg had “multiple bags of premium dog food” on hand, the letter says.
“He could not determine from Ms. Greenberg why or how they had died and she did not seem to have a clear understanding of what was going on,” the board wrote. “He was fearful for the health and safety of the other 11 dogs, but Ms. Greenberg would not allow him to enter her home, where the other dogs were being kept.”
Greenberg’s phone was disconnected Saturday, and she could not be reached for comment via email regarding the letter. She told The Enterprise in a phone interview last week that sheriff’s officials placed her on an involuntary psychiatric hold around the time they confiscated her dogs because “they said I wasn’t fit.”
“I think I should get my dogs back,” said Greenberg, 74, who also contends the matter had been “blown out of proportion.” She claimed the deceased dogs had been dead for just a few days, while the others “need to be thin because of their orthopedic problems.”
A former law-enforcement officer, the board member — believed to be Vince Augusta, the board’s secretary — contacted both the Sheriff’s Department and its Animal Services division and alerted other board members to his discovery.
However, it was not until the following week that the malnourished dogs were removed from the property.
“Because the dogs were not immediately taken by the authorities, we wanted to help the dogs ourselves. However, Animal Control instructed us not to visit the facility, not to place or remove any dogs from the facility, and not to contact Ms. Greenberg,” the letter says. “Although we continued to be anguished for the dogs, we did as law enforcement instructed us to do.”
Although there were no signs of financial wrongdoing, the board removed Greenberg from the nonprofit organization’s bank accounts, according to the letter. It also has suspended rescue activities and surrendered legal possession of the recovering Rottweilers to Animal Services, which has placed them with the Rotts of Friends animal rescue on County Road 29 for ongoing care.
“We understand these steps will help to ensure that Ms. Greenberg will not be able to have the dogs back at her home,” says the letter, which also notes that Second Chance plans to pay both Animal Services and Rotts of Friends for the animals’ care and feeding.
“We want you to know that the board remains committed to the welfare of the dogs and has worked closely with authorities to that end,” wrote the board, which praised Greenberg for her past work in rescuing and rehabilitating abused and abandoned dogs throughout the state.
“Her extensive Rottweiler knowledge, experience, and very hard work were the heart of the rescue. Ms. Greenberg’s relentless dedication to saving Rottweilers for over 50 years makes the recent events even more heartbreaking,” the letter says.
— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene