As soon as the maintenance man opened the apartment door, he knew something was wrong. A terrible stench came from inside, making his stomach turn. But his blood ran cold when he noticed a small, silent pet crate standing in the room’s corner.
As a handyman in Wichita, Kansas, Wes must have his work cut out for him. The properties under his care certainly seem to keep him busy, if his recent adventures are any indication. Possibly the most memorable event happened in September 2018.
The initial callout probably didn’t sound like anything monumental to Wes – just another day on the job. To be more specific, someone reported a leak in their building, so the handymen went out to fix it. What’s more, he located the problem to a single apartment.
Wes correctly assumed a water pipe above the domicile had burst, so he went to investigate. However, a problem arose when he reached the location. As soon as the maintenance man opened the apartment door, a terrible stench overwhelmed him.
What’s more, things only got worse when Wes looked inside the property. Water flooded the residence, though that wasn’t his main concern. What really captured the handyman’s attention was the dark shape he saw standing in the room’s shadows.
On closer inspection, Wes discerned the shape to be a pet carrier. Although the building’s residents were forbidden to own pets, that wasn’t the most worrying thing. The sight distressed him because most of the stink was coming from the crate.
Furthermore, you’d expect animals to make some noise, but Wes didn’t hear a sound from the carrier. Needless to say, he rushed over to check on the poor creatures, and what he saw broke his heart. Wichita Animal Action League’s (WAAL) executive director, Sarah Coffman, told his story.
On September 18, 2018, Coffman told the Dodo, “There was feces and urine just spilling out the front of the kennel.” Two little pit bull cross puppies sat inside among the filth, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Whoever owned the babies had treated them terribly.
What Wes saw disgusted him, as Coffman described. She said, “He noticed that the puppies couldn’t open their mouths. So he shined a flashlight in the crate and realized that they had something wrapped around their muzzles, and that their noses were really swollen and red.”
At a loss with how to progress, Wes contacted a dog fosterer friend who worked with WAAL. She, in turn, rang the Wichita-based non-profit, who had some advice. “I was like, ‘Tell him to wait right there,” Coffman said. “I’m on my way, and I’m bringing the cavalry.’”
Coffman herself led a rescue team to the property with the intention of saving the puppers. She and her accompanying animal control officers subsequently whisked the poor dogs to an animal clinic. There, rescuers got a proper look at what bound the pup’s mouths shut.
“We originally thought that it was wire wrapped around their noses because it was so tight,” Coffman recalled. However, it wasn’t wire but small rubber bands sealing the pup’s mouths. According to Coffman, they were “no bigger around than my thumb.”
WAAL’s veterinarian surmised that the dog’s owner had bound their mouths for a period of 12-24 hours. Rescuers removed the bands as carefully as possible. The bands were so tight, though, that the pups couldn’t help but yelp in pain.
In fact, the doctor said that if Wes had reached the pups any later, their abuse would have had serious consequences. Loss of blood supply to extremities can cause permanent damage to the affected tissue. It might have even robbed the babies of their sense of smell.
In addition to their tied snouts, the puppers had also suffered urine burns on their feet. Thankfully, the vet didn’t foresee any lasting damage apart from some light scarring. After food and a bath, the pups were free to go, so WAAL sought out a foster for them.
Coffman didn’t have to look far either – a loving foster family snapped the pups up. “They’re such a great testament to how resilient dogs are,” Coffman told the Dodo. “Because I certainly wouldn’t be as happy if that happened to me. But they’re playing and cuddling with their foster, and having a great time.”
As well as their new family – which came complete with a mommy foster dog – the pups also got names. Now they’re called Wilson and Violet, and they never have to go back to their previous owner. As for their abuser, they didn’t escape punishment.
WAAL explained as much via an update of the pup’s progress on its Facebook page. “The owner is facing misdemeanor animal abuse,” it wrote on September 20, 2018. “We wish it could be charged as a felony but the way the law is written just doesn’t support it.”
Regardless, the most important thing is that both pups are happy and well. “If you have applied to adopt, we have received it,” WAAL continued. “They cannot go anywhere for quite a while until the courts determine they are no longer needed for evidence.”
What’s more, in a loving environment, their personalities have started to shine. Wilson’s the most energetic sibling, but cooler-headed Violet keeps her brother in line. “[Violet] will tell [Wilson] exactly what she thinks and put him in his place if she thinks he needs it,” Coffman said. “So it’s really funny to see the little one beat up on the bigger one when he’s being naughty.”