Dog left alone in basement for months, say neighbors



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Posted on September 27, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 27 at 11:40 PM

SHORELINE, Wash. - A Shoreline woman hasn't been home for two months and neighbors say her dog has been locked in the basement the entire time.

Anyone who passes by can hear the faint muffled barking of a dog in the basement of a house on the 14700 block of 23rd Avenue Northeast.

"I think he's starving for love and for somebody to pay attention to him," says Hilder Hanna who lives next door.

Neighbors tell us the dog's name is Lucky -- which couldn't be further from the truth.

"It is just unbelievable the stench the poor dog lives in," says Gerry Harris, who also lives next door and is home all day long. Harris says her neighbor hasn't been home for almost two months. Lucky has been locked in the basement the entire time.

"There's moldy feces all over the floor in there and he urinates in there, has no place to sleep," says Harris.

On most days, the woman's ex-husband stops by to feed Lucky.

"Open the sliding glass door just far [enough] just so he can dump the food in there. Closes the door and leaves," says Harris.

Back in 2005, when the dog was kept in the backyard, neighbors complained that the dog barked so incessantly that the owners started locking the dog inside.

"I don't know which is worse, having him locked up or listening to him bark," says Harris. She has made many complaints to King County Animal Control and has the file to prove it.

Officers have been out to the house twice in the last week, even posting a notice on the window asking the homeowner to contact them.

Animal Control says stepping in to help the dog hasn't been easy. Animal control officers say they can't see the dog without trespassing onto private property. Since the owner isn't home, they need a lot of proof to get a search warrant.

 "We go on about two-to-three cases every day," says Kelly Page of Dogs Deserve Better. Dog rescue advocates have also tried contacting the homeowner.

It's a problem they see all too often: dogs chained up in the yard or locked up in the house and basically forgotten.

"Our laws are really weak in our state for animal cruelty and so part of the animal control's hands are tied as well," says Page.

The man who comes by to feed the dog drove by the house Monday night, but saw KING 5's camera and drove off.

Animal control officers says they'll keep pursuing this case.