Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19425
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull), reptile
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Person(s) in animal care
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Thursday, Mar 8, 2012

County: Jackson

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Shirley L. Lafferty

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A Jackson County woman is being charged with animal cruelty. Deputies were called to the home near I-435 and Truman Road for unsanitary conditions.

Prosecutors have charged 55-year-old Shirley L. Lafferty with 16 counts of animal cruelty as well as unlawfully owning more than three cats or dogs, unlawfully permitting animal waste matter collect and creating a public nuisance.

Investigators could smell the pungent odor of what was believed to be feces from a nearby home. Detectives found several dogs, cats and turtles at the home. Animal Control had to remove the animals and take them to Wayside Waifs.

One animal was euthanized for medical problems that went untreated. The other animals remain at the shelter. It's unknown what condition they're in.

Lafferty is currently being held at the Jackson County Detention Center. The woman reportedly advertised herself as an owner of a licensed animal rescue entity named Black Dog Rescue, sometimes called Last Chance Black Dog Rescue. Investigators have proved this entity to be unlicensed. In addition, it has been reported that this unlicensed entity has sold animals under the name of Black Dog Rescue at several large chain businesses.

Police are asking anyone with information on where these animals have been sold or are being advertised for sale, please contact Detective Penny Cole at 816-524-4302.

Case Updates

There are new developments in a dog hoarding case that started with a woman's arrest last week in Jackson County. KCTV5 visited the latest group of dogs as the tally rises.

Eight-week-old Johnny is one of at least 65 dogs found in a second location for Shirley Lafferty's unlicensed organization that she called Black Dog Rescue. That brings the total now to almost 90.

Thirty-three of the dogs are now at the Heartland SPCA in Merriam, KS. Included amongst those dogs are puppies as young as 2-weeks-old, still nursing, who were crowded into the home.

"Some rooms had 20 to 25 dogs in them. Other rooms had moms nursing 2-week-old puppies surrounded by five or six other dogs," said Joe Hinkle with Heartland SPCA.

The home near Butler, MO was rigged with plywood gates in an attempt to replicate a shelter. But the conditions " four puppies to a crate and wire crates stacked atop each other " concerned animal welfare advocates who said there were simply too many dogs for one, or even two, people to care for.

"They need to ask for help," said Hinkle.

A KCTV5 crew was at that home Tuesday when a Department of Agriculture Investigator was there to assess the 65 dogs and one goat reported through the Animal Care Program's Operation Bark Alert.

Hinkle said the home was yet another location for Black Dog Rescue, an unlicensed organization run by Lafferty. The woman was arrested last week and charged with 16 counts of animal abuse and neglect.

Investigators seized 17 dogs from Lafferty's home in unincorporated Jackson County last week and condemned the feces-covered house. Those dogs, now at Wayside Waifs, cannot be adopted because they were seized and the court case is still pending.

The Butler, MO dogs were surrendered voluntarily by the woman renting there - so many dogs that the placement process is still underway.

"I know another group went out to pull some yesterday, I think some more got pulled today, and the goat went home today," said Hinkle.

He said what happened is a classic case of rescue turned hoarding.

"It seems like they really have their hearts in the right place to begin with and then it just gets out of control. And once it starts spiraling out of control, they're really afraid to ask for help. I think once they realize it's gotten out of control, they start to get embarrassed," he said.

The puppies like Johnny are going to need at least one more week at the shelter or in foster homes before they can be adopted, but quite a few of the surrendered dogs are already ready to go to their permanent homes.

Anyone can stop by the Heartland SPCA Adoption Center located at 9800 West 67th Street in Merriam, KS from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The organization will also be offering free vaccinations Saturday March 17 and March 24 at its Animal Medical Center at 5428 Antioch Drive. The clinics go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Click here for information on Heartland SPCA.
Update posted on Mar 18, 2012 - 3:58PM 


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