Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18819
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, Nov 10, 2011

County: Dunklin

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Robert Hess

A local resident faces eight charges of animal neglect following an investigation by the Kennett Humane Department.

On Thursday morning, Kennett Humane Officer Tena Petix along with Animal Control officer Bob Burke of Malden, Mo., and Officer Alan Campbell of the Kennett Police Department, arrived at a residence on North Walnut Street where they took into custody five dogs. The previous evening officers had gone to the residence but were only able to take into custody a male Shih Tzu, who was then transported to the Kennett Dog Pound. According to Petix, there are also two cats in the home but officers have been unable to locate them.

The owner of the animals was not at home when officers arrived, having already been taken into custody.

When asked how she became aware of the situation, Petix noted that earlier in the week she was contacted by a city employee who had gone to the home to perform some work at the residence. According to Petix, the employee had been concerned about the living conditions and how the animals were being treated, especially the Shih Tzu, whose fur was so matted up that its features could not even be distinguished.

"The officers had been trying to get him picked up but he wouldn't come to the door for them but he came for me. I had an officer with me," she said. Petix added that she also called Kennett Code Enforcement Officer Victor Mode, since she was aware of how bad the situation was.

"He wouldn't surrender," she said, adding, " He wouldn't give them to us. We told him he would be charged with animal neglect and he didn't seem to care. They went ahead and took him to jail. We did make sure that they had food in there until we could talk to Terry McVey. They were working on the paperwork to go in and get them and I decided to go up one more time and talk to him at the jail and see if he would surrender and he did go ahead and surrender."

Upon entrance to the home, the odor of ammonia from urine and animal feces was quite strong and feces was visible on the floor as well as where the animals had urinated and discolored the carpet.

The officers set out trying to capture the animals but were unsuccessful the first few times since all of them were hiding under the bed and behind the furniture. Although, they were small, when captured most of them put up a fight, according to Petix.

After being loaded up into the animal control vehicles, all of the animals were transported to the Kennett Humane Department where they were put in their own individual cage and given food and clean water.

When asked what the plans were for the animals, Petix noted that the department is going to try to adopt them out. They will be seen by a veterinarian if the dogs exhibit signs of disease.

Petix noted that all of the animals picked up on Thursday appear to be in good health.

According to Petix, Ace, the boxer who has become the city's ambassador on Animal Abuse, has helped bring awareness to the plight of many animals. Petix said there once was a time when animal neglect wasn't usually reported but that it is changing.

"It's all of us working together not just for the animals sake but for the whole community," she said, adding, "It didn't used to be like that. No one knew."

When contacted, McVey did verify that eight counts of animal neglect has been brought against the subject, identified as Robert Hess, 59, and he will appear in court on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. The penalties for these offenses are 90 days in jail or a $500 fine on each. McVey noted that if the man pleads not guilty the case will be set for a trial.

"It's just a first offense," McVey said. "He's just been summoned in [and] charged with the offenses. [The trial] depends on what he pleads."

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Kennett Humane Department or wishing to report a case of animal neglect may do so by calling Petix at (573) 888-4622.


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