Animal shelters across the nation are reportedly demanding hefty fines from dog owners and even killing innocent animals when fines are not paid within specified time periods.
Gerilynn Aflleje, of California, lost her 4-year-old dog named Chunk in 2013. Chunk had been tracked down and found at the Stockton animal shelter.
When Aflleje showed up to retrieve her pet, the shelter demanded she fork over $180 within 24 hours, a fee imposed for storing Chunk.
Aflleje could not afford the fine and Chunk was euthanized by the shelter.
"We didn't only lose our pet. We lost a family member," she said, as reported by CNN.
Elizabeth Vasquez from Indio, California, was fined $500 for having two dogs, Silver and Canelo, run loose in the neighborhood.
Vasquez could only afford to pay $200 of the fine. She got Canelo back but Silver was killed by the shelter.
Caitlin McAdam of Colorado had two dogs removed after they were accused of killing a neighbor’s cat. Adams was told to pay $1,200 within 10 days or her animals could be euthanized.
A jury trial for McAdam is expected to begin in April. In the meantime, her dogs are not allowed to return back home and the family can only visit the animals.
McAdam maintains that her dogs are innocent and that an autopsy of the cat will prove that the dogs did not have anything to do with the cat’s death.
McAdam has had to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and storage fees. She was forced to sell her car and borrow money from friends.
Mary Root, 82, of Havre de Grace, Maryland, was fined $525 after it was alleged that her Chihuahuas had gotten loose 3 times. Because of medical reasons, Root was unable to attend the court hearing. A warrant was issued and she was arrested and spent 2 days in jail.
The fines were increased to $7,000 or one year in jail. A lawyer, however, was able to get the fine reduced and keep Root out of jail.
Riverside County, California, inspectors have been accused of going door-to-door and writing $400 citations to dog owners in low income neighborhoods. Owners are accused of not having their pets licensed or sterilized.
Kim Maguire-Hardee, who runs a low-cost spay and neuter clinic near Riverside says: "They are threatening people. They are intimidating people.”
Chief veterinarian for Riverside County, Allan Drusys, defends the actions of the inspectors, stating that he takes, "great exception to the accusation that we are picking on poor people.”
He added: “It's not our fault that we don't go to the gated communities -- we go there all the time, they refuse entry.”