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.

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