Pet owners can learn from case of 15 Chihuahua mixes taken from home

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An Indianapolis woman is distraught after her dogs were taken by animal control, leading to thousands of dollars in fines she says she can’t afford.

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control officers said Elliott’s home wasn’t safe for the dogs. Police officers were at the home last week serving a warrant on Elliott’s son, when they saw mounds of items piled high in many of her rooms.

“They started grabbing (my dogs) up, taking them and putting them in cages,” Elliott said.

Elliott had 15 Chihuahua mixes in her home. She said the dogs were healthy and happy, but IACC said they didn’t have enough room to thrive.

“The dogs don’t have enough room to be active and there’s a danger of things falling on them or them being injured by all of the things in the house,” IACC Director Dan Shackle said.

Now, Elliott is racking up thousands in fines before a court date scheduled in a few weeks. She said that she won’t be able to afford the fees to get her dogs back, even though she plans to clean up the mess in her home.

“Those dogs are my babies, they’re my life. Without them, I’d rather die,” Elliott said.

IACC warns pet owners to abide by city ordinances. There’s no law governing how much room a dog needs, but animal control officers can use their own discretion when seizing pets. Dogs in Indianapolis must also have rabies shots and be identified by either microchip or tagged collar. Elliott’s dogs had neither.

Now that the dogs are in IACC custody, officials say the only thing Elliott can do is pay for them or argue before a judge.

“My suggestion would be not to get into that situation in the first place,” Shackle said.

The dogs will not be put up for adoption until after the case goes to trial if they are put up for adoption at all.


  • Deborah Stephens

    Leave people alone!! Give the lady her dogs back. Seems like pets have more rights than people do these days. You can tell the lady loves them dogs!!!!

  • Sherie Brown

    Ok! I agree with them on the spay/ neuter. the 15 dogs them selves may have or have not been a problem but the hoarder junk in every room is a problem what happens if a fire was to break out some if not all of the dogs may parish in it no way could she get them all out in time.

  • reva

    call CPS and nothing happens they call the person and give them time to clean up the mess, this poor woman was not given a chance to make any changes and those babies will be lost in the system, please adopt them out or let someone foster them

  • michelle

    Oh what the hell is really going on. Anything to mess with people. Now they going in people's houses and taking their dogs. Give her those dogs back. They aren't bothering anyone and she really loves them. I to have seen children live worse than the dogs and they didn't get taken away. If they are worried about space, then they could have given her some time to get rid of some of her stuff. Shame on them.

  • Ashley

    make her clean her house and then give her her dogs back, there are dozens of abused and neglected animals and kids and they see no justice!

  • Tonya

    The police was not even at her home on a complaint – them came looking for her son – but they decide that they would pick on her, why for not giving up her son? – GIVE the woman back her dogs and leave her alone. Give her a warning about the tags and shots – Have her clean up the house.

  • LindaLu

    This is absolutely criminal! We are losing our freedoms people – its about time we take notice. I'm sorry but chihuahuas do not take up much space. I've seen the commercials out there about abused animals and I grant you that sometimes the abuse is real, but going in and taking animals because their cages are dirty – that can happen 5 minutes after the cages are cleaned!! Give her back her dogs and spend your time dealing with true issues!!!!!

  • RedDeb

    Give that lady her dogs back. Where can we make a donation to make sure they have the rabies shots and microchips?

    • Disappointed

      I would also like to know how to make donation for the dogs to get the shots. This seems extreme.

      Is step number one really to take all the dogs away? She doesn't get a warning or grace period or ANYTHING?! Thousands of dollars in fines because they didn't have their shots or collars with tags? Someone's trolling for revenue.

      And to know that in the end they probably won't even go to a home that was as loving as hers, if they even get placed at all.

      I'll be emailing the IACC and letting them know that the community believes this is WRONG.

  • pattykay

    I think maybe the camera crew should have zoomed out with their cameras so viewers could get a better idea of what those poor dogs lived like. It wouldn't take much of an accident for one to be injured. There is stuff everywhere at that house.
    If the crew hadn't just focused on silly knick knacks upon the shelves I believe people would have a better sense of the problem. Also 15 unneutered/unspayed dogs will be a real problem in a year. I am sure she wasn't just selling them to total strangers because you don't do that to animals you "love".

  • martina

    i know the woman, she is my friend. her house Is CLEAN, she just has a lot of stuff. They have had all their shots, but the "rabies"…. the reason they took her dogs is,,,,,,,well do i have to explain it, ? who was there at the house," hmmmm", and this was pay back!!

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