The Animal Control officers who entered the apartment near 28th and F streets on Feb. 1 found two huskies — a male and female, each about 3 years old — dead inside.
They found the apartment in disarray, feces on the floor.
They found one of the dogs tangled up in a window blind cord with a broken leg.
But they couldn’t immediately find the owner of the dogs. “There was no tenant home,” Animal Control director Steve Beal said Monday. “We had a name of somebody but had no contact information; we had a phone number we were trying to reach.”
A necropsy revealed the dogs had likely been dead a week to 10 days before they were discovered, after neighbors complained to their landlord about a foul smell coming from the apartment and suspected something had happened to the dogs.
But the examination couldn’t determine how they died. There was food in their stomachs, so they didn’t die of starvation, and there were no obvious signs of physical abuse or trauma.
“It’s still perplexing to us,” he said. “We don’t have anything to indicate the dogs were abused intentionally.”
Officials finally talked to their 18-year-old owner Saturday. He told them he’d been out of town and hadn’t been in the apartment much in the past month, though he couldn’t provide details, Beal said. He told them he’d asked someone else to look after the dogs, though he couldn’t remember who. And he said he’d returned at one point, found them dead, and left again.
The owner was cited for suspicion of animal neglect and for failing to remove a dead animal.
But the case remains open, Beal said. His officers are still trying to piece together a timeline leading up to the deaths of the dogs, and they’re trying to find people who may have come in contact with the dogs before they died.
Each year, Animal Control officers investigate one or two cases of an animal dying after being neglected or treated cruelly, Beal said.
“Thank goodness we don’t get a lot of calls like this.”