There are many people who love dogs, but even those who love dogs don’t love hearing them bark all the time. It’s a nuisance most of the time, and there are plenty of safe, compassionate ways to deal with it.
Zip-tying a dog’s mouth shut is not one of those ways, but that’s what the Surprise Police Department in Arizona found in March after a report of animal cruelty.
“A witness reported that a man had zip tied the mouth of a dog shut,” the police department shared on March 25. “Upon further investigation, it was learned that this had occurred several times over the past 2 weeks.”
After obtaining a search warrant for the apartment, detectives made other heartbreaking discoveries.
“During the execution of the search warrant, 10 puppies were located; all of which were suffering from various states of dehydration and had no access to water,” the post continued.
“In total, 12 dogs were recovered which included the 10 puppies and 2 adult dogs. One of the adult dogs was found in an emaciated state and transported to a local valley animal hospital for immediate medical evaluation and treatment.
Levi Lewis, 41, was arrested on one count of felony animal cruelty and 10 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
The dogs, basset hounds, had apparently been making so much noise that Lewis was threatened with eviction, so he took matters into his own hands. He’d zip-tied the mother dog’s mouth shut, and by the time she was rescued, it had taken a toll on her physical condition.
It was a tough find even for seasoned police officers.
“I can think of some scenes in my time as a police officer and as an investigator that it really just hits you in the gut, and this is definitely one of those that really kind of stings, and it leaves you with some scars,” Lieutenant Tim Klarkowski told KSAZ-TV.
“This abhorrent treatment of animals is unacceptable anywhere, but especially in the City of Surprise, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of our abilities.”
The basset hounds’ story went viral, and there was so much interest in adopting the mother, father and puppies and giving them a better life that the Arizona Humane Society had to hold a drawing to keep things fair.
“You may have seen the heartbreaking photo of a Basset Hound with her mouth zip-tied shut,” the Arizona Humane Society shared on April 14. ” Today, this family of Basset Hounds is ready for a fresh start… while the former owner is facing nearly a dozen charges of animal cruelty, including one felony count.
The adoption drawing was held April 15.
The next day, all 12 bassets had new homes, just in time for Easter.
“Basset lovers from across the Valley made the trek to AHS’ South Mountain Campus this morning to adopt!” they posted in an update.
“Stanley, the dad of the four-legged family, is going to be his adopter’s 5th Basset Hound. One puppy’s new family recently lost their senior of the same breed. One adopter told us that her first word was ‘Spot,’ the name of her family Basset Hound.
“Every single adoption today came with emotional tales (and wagging tails), and we could not be more grateful!”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.