Did neighbors cross the line taking owner’s dog they believed was abused?

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TACOMA — A group of South Sound neighbors and strangers took the law into their own hands to save a dog they thought was being neglected and abused.

They took the dog out of its own back yard and rushed it to a vet for help, but the fate of the dog and her owner is still up in the air.

Animal Control said someone dropped off the lab-mix named Kiki at The Humane Society on Monday afternoon. But the dog is no longer at the shelter and now investigators have their hands full trying to figure it all out.

“The dog was clearly starving and in really bad shape so we got a group of us and go over there,” said Autumn Niesz-Ramos, who admitted to taking Kiki.

Kiki’s family said she’s been living in her backyard.

A concerned neighbor took pictures of the dog, looking neglected and malnourished, and later posted them Facebook along with the address where Kiki lived. That’s when strangers showed up to take the animal.

“The dog could barely stand up she was so weak,” said Niesz-Ramos. “She was shaking, she was so cold.”

Construction workers working inside Kiki’s yard said they witnessed four strangers come in to the backyard and dognap Kiki.

“I turn around and I see four people,” said Keith No. “As they saw me walking up to them, they actually snatched the dog out, cut the chain and walked off.”

Steven Lee Jr. said Kiki belongs to his father, and admitted that the dog isn’t healthy.

“She wasn’t in good shape,” said Lee, “There’s something wrong.”

Niesz-Ramos said she wasn’t going to wait for Animal Control to respond; she planned to give Kiki the help she believe the dog needed. Niesz-Ramos said veterinarians also told her that Kiki was in bad shape.

“They said when I got there that the chain was imbedded in his neck because it had been on so long, so tight,” she said. “I don’t think I stole her, I think I saved her.”

But Kiki is not being held at the Humane Society; her owner likely already picked her up.

Animal Control said the only way they could take possession of Kiki is if they either had a warrant or they believed she was being abused.

So far their investigation is still ongoing.

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84 comments

  • Angel Lee

    That is my grandpas dog i have know this dog my whole life she would always go with my grandpa every morning to walk but lately she has been sick and im over every weekend he feds her everyday! I witnessed it! He loves this dog to death and is torwn his neighbors could do such a thing because if he so happened to abuse his dog they would have called earlier i would have called, but he does not she is taken care she has been very sick lately and doesnt walk around no more but the back yard! I wish i was there to say what really needed to be said but do not look at him wrong that is his baby!!

      • Sheila Holt

        I am sorry but if the chain was embedded in the poor dog neck je was NOT being taken care of. Maybe you are just trying to help UR Grandpa. I am glad someone took the dog maybe he can be taken care of now.

      • Lori Ugolik

        The so called former “owners” should be prosecuted to the fullest extent for neglect and abuse! IMO, lethal injection would be too humane for these SOB’s!! How are Washington laws for animal abuse/neglect? I thought Washington was pretty progressive, but then again, if laws aren’t enforced, people get away with despicable acts of cruelty!! Disgusting!! Kudos to the neighbors and construction worker for trying to save her!

    • Stella M S (@24CarlyS119)

      Liar the collar was embedded and even if it wasn’t… why not take the dog to the vet if something was “WRONG”. If this is your standard of care… I hope you don’t have humans you are responsible for. DISGUSTING. The poor dog is probably being tortured now.

    • Melissa Burks

      I was part of this group. I went to the Humane Society and gave my name so I could be a witness if these people were prosecuted, so I don’t have any problems outing myself here. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

      We tried all the proper channels 1st, Animal Control & Police. Animal Control said they would not be able to respond until the next day. Judging from the photos, we were not sure this dog had another day, we felt it needed vet care immediately. I even physically went to the Humane Society to show them the photo, but they could not help.

      This dog was absolutely starving, covered in mange and rain rot. She wouldn’t, couldn’t stop chewing on herself. I brought her food, she had no idea what it was. That construction worker was right, we had to cut the chain she was on, because the chain was fastened around her neck so tightly i couldn’t get my two tiny fingers through it!! Even though she had a collar they could have put it on. Her home was a shitty dog house with zero blankets on Cement. Her water bucket was a 5 gallon bucket, which I’m sure she would have a hard time drinking out of unless it was full. I witnessed the construction worker pour a small amount of dirty water out of it, & put fresh water down for her. He did this because he knew we were interested in the dogs condition. It was obvious this dog had been out on this cement porch for years by herself. The only reason she was seen, is because they are building a new fence. When the old one came down she was exposed. Also, there was no ripping the dog house roof off. We gently lifted the roof off, & gently picked her up, she could hardly stand.

      I will be absolutely floored if they go this dog back. They told me it was a possibility, unless they deemed the dog abused. The intake person I spoke with said the abuse was obvious. I’m wondering if the owner surrendered, & they euthanized her because she was so far gone. Even if that is the outcome, at least she didn’t die alone, freezing, itching & rotting in that fucking back yard.
      The construction worker also told us this man is a Pastor.

      • Melissa Burks

        Also, the neighbors had nothing to do with this. We saw photo’s with an address on Facebook & showed up to investigate, & then teamed up to get the dog to the Humane Society. The person who posted the photo on FB, saw the dog when they were driving through the neighborhood & snapped photos.

        • Kensi

          Thank you for saving this poor dog! Hopefully the authorities take this seriously and remove the dog from this person’s “care” but I doubt it.

      • Angel lee

        She is back with my grandpa im sorry maybe he didn’t realize but he loves that dog i do not think at all he would do anything to harm it!

        • Michele

          If he loved the dog, it would not be chained up outside in the rain with no food and no blankets. The chain was imbedded in it’s neck. Your grandfather should be punished. Would you like to be chained outside in the cold with dirty water, no blankets and put in a dog house?!?!?! Your family should be ashamed of themselves and I hope charges are filed against him. This is neglect and from the picture you can tell it has been going on for years!

      • EGL

        Thank you for stepping in and helping Kiki. Even though it may not have had the outcome you’d hoped for, you did bring attention to the abuse and hopefully your bravery will encourage others to step up and help animals in need. You all are my heroes.

      • Lisa Sand

        Thank you for at least TRYING, Melissa.
        People that would do this to a dog make me sick! Seriously. Some days I just cannot stomach the bulk of mankind. :(

        • Hazel

          Angel Lee is a dog’s worst nightmare…..a troll…..or simply stupid if she thinks anyone believes this dog was loved. Loved dogs are not left in the cold to shiver….they are not starved…they do not have a chain around the neck…..and she claims her boyfriend fed the dog on Sundays. Oh yeah….one meal a week is fine.

          Grandfather should be behind bars, the dog should be in a safe place….and Angel….sorry not going to give you any kind words…..you and your family are despicable.

        • Jenna

          How stupid. Rescuing a neglected, abused dog and taking it somewhere for treatment is no more a thief than someone seeing a baby outside abused and neglected and taking it to the hospital. It’s what we’re SUPPOSED to do. I’m SO THANKFUL there are people in this world who still have empathy and compassion for other living things and would go out of their way to help them instead of turning a blind eye to abuse. This dog was forced to live like that with no way of escaping.

          I’m currently taking care of a neighbors dog who has been neglected. He’s covered in mange terribly, he was rail thin and starving, and very timid so I started feeding him because other neighbors were getting angry he was getting in to their trash for FOOD, so guess where he started to stay? In MY yard, now he wants to come in my home, and he hasn’t been in another trash can since! Rest assured if this dog also was not tied up, she would have done the same, but she wasn’t given the option until these people helped her.

    • Kate

      An embedded chain and an emaciated body. That dog needed help. You may be right. He may actually have loved it to death. Tell your grandpa I will give him $100 for that dog right now. I’ll relieve him of the responsibility of paying for it’s medical care.

      • Lori Ugolik

        The Grandfather should receive the death penalty!! Disgusting! If he couldn’t care for the dog, he should never have had one in the first place. This was not something that happened overnight but for months-years of neglect. What are the laws in that county in Washington? How dare the AC give him the dog back!!

    • Jessica

      “Loves her to death’…….yep, thats how its done. Chain it up and forget about it. For a chain to embed itself into an animals skin, it is put on when the animal is young and still growing. The animal grows, and the chain cuts into the skin and eventually….like, several months or longer….the skin will heal AROUND the chain. It’s not something that happens within a couple weeks. Or a month. It takes a long time. And every second of that time, that animal is suffering. You and your grandfather are blind, heartless people who should NEVER be allowed to own another animal.

    • Jo

      This Dog was and IS abused, it was sick so you left it out in the elements ???? did you take the dog to the VET ???? There should be charges against ANYONE this dog was living with !! If I saw this I would have saved the dog myself !! phone calls were made to the police, and nothing waqs done.. SHAME !!!!! THIS D)G SUFFERED !! I HOPE THE OWNER GOES TO PRISON !!

    • EGL

      I call bullshit. You have no excuse for the dog being chained up outside. If your grandpa really cared for this dog he wouldn’t leave it outside in the cold to die alone. I’m sure you all think you are great Christians since you go to church but in reality you are all going to hell for being such terrible excuses for human beings. I hope you all spend eternity chained to a stake with no food, water, warmth or human contact, you big pieces of shit.

    • White__Rabbit

      If you were really over there and seeing to the dogs well being you would have clearly seen the chain embedded in that animals neck! Leaving an animal out to starve in the cold is NOT taking care of it. I hope they take that poor thing away and give it the treatment and love it deserves.

    • Cat L.

      I wish those who had taken her had secretly gotten her to a safe place and a vet. Trusting animal control? Fail. I understand the wish to prosecute, but more often than not it isn’t going to happen, the animals go back into danger, and the end is not good.

    • Cat L.

      If he gave a damn about “his baby” she would have been, AT THE VERY LEAST, inside the house where it is warm, in a soft bed, getting regular vet care and re-checks. At the very least. Please–don’t ever own a pet or have a child. You are clearly not capable of critical thinking.

    • Lisa Sand

      If the dog is sick it most certainly shouldn’t be left out in the COLD!! HOW exactly is that LOVE?!?! Your entire family should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Jason McKibbin

      I can respect you defending your Grandpa and I believe that the dog may have been a long loved family pet, but perhaps it is time to do what is right and dignified for ANOTHER LIVING THING. I know what it is like to have life get so hectic, maintaining proper care for a pet becomes impossible. That is why I no longer have pets…it is not fair or humane to them. just know that A LOT of your local community just wants what is best FOR ALL LIVING THINGS, yourselves included…please do the right thing.

    • John Kim

      @Angel Lee, you’re an idiot and your family is too. a chain embedded in a dogs neck is no excuse. please. never have a pet again you sorry excuse for animal cruelty.

    • Jill Ashmore

      WELL THEN YOU BRING THE DOG INSIDE AND GIVE IT ALL THE LOVE AND ATTENTION YOU CAN FOR WHATEVER TIME IT HAS LEFT . You make sure its warm and comfortable and spoilt and has everything that could possibly make whatever time it has left as good as you can . And if it had seen a vet previously would it really have an embedded chain on its neck still ? if the owner gave the dog any attention they should of noticed that chain .. that hadn’t happened overnight but would take months or even longer to become embedded and no vet would leave it like that .

    • gaynor

      your grandpa should be ashamed to be treating this dog so badly. he loves him you say, well I say it’s a SELFISH love. so, it’s ok if you love your wife, but beat her because ‘she makes you angry’? so this is ok, because you love this dog even tho’ the way you mistreat him is causing him to die, a slow painful death……..you are SICK !!!!

    • Kymberli

      Kiki’s chain was embedded in her neck – that IS abuse and cruelty. The neighbors did the right thing to get her help and I would do it as well. If your grandpa loves her to death then why is the chain embedded in her neck, why are her ribs showing. and why was she not taken to a vet the minute she started to appear sick?

    • Denise Costa

      How can you say the dog was well cared for and loved? She was emaciated, had a collar embedded in her neck, could barely stand up and had mange and rain rot all over her. This did not happen over night and is obviously the result of long term neglect.

    • Ellie

      Angel Lee. If a loved creature is sick and dying the owners that love them should make their life comfortable and supported by the love of their people. Perhaps your grandfather did not understand what is required to properly take care of the dog, but chaining it to a doghouse far from his family to die alone is cruel no matter how he was taken care of before he became sick. I’ve owned lots of labs, and being with their people is the most important thing for them in the world, so living chained to a doghouse is torture on an emotional level for this dog. He lives a purposeless, lonely desperate existence. He is trapped and helpless. He is physically miserable with rain rot and mange, and other infestations, and starvation and unable to remedy his miserable and uncomfortable existence because of the constraints that your grandfather, as the responsible owner, has forced on him. God will judge the cruelness of the human that has forced this dog to endure endless physical and emotional torture. Dogs are pure love. They are the only creature that will love you unconditionally, and in that way I think they are the closest thing to God we will ever encounter. Does your grandfather want to live with the knowledge that he tortured “pure love”?.

    • Jodi

      Really his baby? Who lets they dogs collar get so tight that it is embedded in their skin? That’s not loving your pet that is animal abuse. This guy has no love for this animal. If the dog is sick why hasn’t she been to the vets? I’m sure they would help her. He can’t and wont bring her to the vets because he enjoys neglecting her and abusing her. He should give her to a living caring home not just the outdoors. Losers, I have no use for any human who does this to an animal or for someone who back them up.

    • maylin Williams

      I’m sick and tired of people mistreating animals simply because they feel “oh well its just a dog”well that’s bullshit lets chain your grandpa or u? Leave outside and neglect you the same way….see if you like how it feels? The way i see you’re just as guilty as your sorry grandpa for letting that poor animal who can’t speak or defend himself fron cruel nasty people like u and your grandpa.

  • Kris Bitar

    Angel Lee, Maybe because you love your grandfather, you are not seeing the whole picture. He may very well love his dog, but having the collar embedded in his/her neck has got to be very painful. The dog is obviously starving. Think of what those two things together must feel like. Maybe your grandfather was forgetting to feed his dog? Maybe there are many other circumstances where he wasn’t doing it to be cruel on purpose. However, it is cruel to that poor baby. Other people have to be the voice for animals as they have none. Maybe if you truly love your grandfather, you could step in and help him care for the dog or even allow others to step in and take over to assist? It is clear this baby needs attention. Abuse doesn’t have to be intentional – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. The people who stepped in to help are angels. Your efforts did not go unnoticed. Thank you.

    • Angel lee

      Its not that maybe he did im not ther 24/7 i do know that the dog is dying and the medications havent done much they want him to put it down he just cant thats his family he want to stay with it, the collar wasnt embedded i can say that my boyfriend feeds him every weekend we come over to go to church and idk maybe the dog isnt eating the food and just barying it but i know he does bot abuse that dog but thanks you for atleast understanding and not jumping to conclusions when your not there

      • Rita Jane

        Angel, there is more going on here. There would be a reason the dog is not eating food it is given. If the dog is sick, it should not be left outside – it has no fat on its body to deal with the cold weather (no, the dog house is not enough). She belongs inside. I understand you grandfather loves her and I am sorry that he is now in a difficult position – in the news and all, but I would be willing to take the dog and try to get it some medical help. If he loves her, perhaps he would consider allowing me the privilege of helping like that. Please suggest that to him.

        • Angel lee

          Even if he did the vet said the dog is passing he can not do much but give it its meds. Just tired of the negative when people arent there and dont know the situation thats all

          • Kate

            Angel, Does your family have this dog back? Is it now receiving medical care? There are a number of people that would be more than happy to help support this dogs care. If what you are saying is correct, and this dog is elderly, it needs a vet even more than if it were a younger dog. Whats the status of it now?

          • Rita Jane

            I appreciate what you are saying, Angel. But, why is the dog passing? If from hunger, perhaps it can be saved. What is the medicine supposed to be for? Won’t he let someone try to help?

  • Lane

    Angel Lee…a chain embedded in the dogs neck from being tight for so long in completely inexcusable to say the least,a dog in such a sick manner should not be cared for by people that half ass care for it on the weekends and leave it out on freezing nights!! ….these strangers I applaud them and I would have done the same exact thing,do not try to justify your carelessness by trying to blow smoke up all of our asses ,maybe at one time somebody cared but that caring definitely stopped almost completely,when the public has to step in that says you people are doing things very,very wrong indeed.

  • Derek

    Legally they had no right.
    Legally they can report not tresspass.
    The owner can sue and will win.
    They will be charged with tresspass.
    Legally they can report but not tresspass.
    The dog is back with the owner.

    • Lane

      Derek how would you like to suffer like this dog? lrave you out in the freezing cold and sick with a chain embedded in your neck and then to have a human jerk like yourself to come up with these ridiculous laws,

  • bleh

    Good, I am glad someone took the dog away from those people. They have different “values” that don’t consider animals living beings worthy of care. They shouldn’t even have animals.

  • Kev

    Kudos to the people who tried to intervene on behalf of this poor dog. They did the right thing in every way, I don’t give care what the law says. There is absolutely zero excuse for neglect like this. Too bad animal rights laws are so lax.

  • Cat L.

    That owner’s son said the dog was not well. The pics show she is starving. Animal Control rarely does what is best for an animal in the immediate sense; the err on the side of the humans until they prove they ar not going to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the animals suffer eve more.

    Why didn’t the people who took the dog take 100% responsibility and get here SECRETLY to safety? :(

  • Cher

    First – OUTSIDE ON A CHAIN IN A BOX = ABUSE all day long. But A sick dog, outside, on a chain, in a box is tragic. And an embedded chain in the dog’s neck leaves no room for your excuses. Let’s pray you people never get another animal. You clearly have no idea what it means to have one. You deserve to be punished. Your dog deserves love and MEDICAL ATTENTION.

  • G. Eddie

    Pictures don’t lie, that poor dog is a skeleton, not being cared for at all. Please do not let this man keep this dog and get it the care and love it needs. Dogs are not meant to be chained up in the backyard, no excuses!!

    • Carlo Fellini

      An embedded chain and an emaciated body. What more does Animal Control need to see to deem this situation “abuse”? They are IDIOTS!!!!

  • Philip D Space

    to determine “if” abused?

    and this is what is so wrong with so many Animal Control agencies….

    even in the face of concrete, documented evidence they wiffle-waffle and refuse to take immediate action, delaying so long that oft it is too late for the animal.

    and then people wonder why good samaritans have “break” the law to save animals.

    when a “law” is UNJUST — it not only deserves to be broken, it is the duty of just people to break it to save those harmed by the unjust law.

  • Lori

    How could animal control not prove she was neglected? starving? chained? That is gross negligence. Washington needs to strengthen their laws, and if they are in place enforce them. I thought Washington was a more progressive state regarding animal abuse!!

  • Vicki

    Some people do not need to have pets. If he is elderly and cannot care for the animal or does not have the money to care for the dog, then it needs a new home. There are no excuses if family members have came by and did nothing to help this animal. They are just as much to blame. It is only human nature for people that love animals to help in what ever manner that is needed. If it is (too) late then putting her down and releaving her suffering would be better then letting her die suffering. There is no excuse for any of the family members that have seen this happen and to do nothing.

  • ellen van dyke

    very surprised animal control released dog to anyone. !!! Neighbors did NOT cross the line
    Granddaughter days dog is his baby. Please. ! Save us from this kind of parenting ! Sounds like ignorant man. Please post if dog is safe. I am in another state or I would come get the dog and give it medical care and a home. I cannot believe such horrible people 😞

  • cynthia

    I can’t believe the humane society gave the dog back because they need to verify he’s been abused when they can clearly see the shape the poor thing is in and where the collor was embedded. It’s frustrating when people do the right thing when this takes courage and not many get envolved and when they do the dog is handed back. Next time keep it quiet and hide the animal out.

  • Tori Reimers

    Thank you for. Saving. The dogs life as abuse was obvious to many, the investigation better end in charges against owners. Please I pray the dog will be rehomed not dumped at a kill shelter or the dog will be dead at the hands of these owners…may angels watch over this furry baby.

  • Laura

    Based on the photo on FB, the dog is emaciated with neglected. If the dog is just sick, the collar would be loose and not embedded as seen on the photo. Thank you for those who try to save her. Shameful to the Humane Society not willing to stand up for Niki.

  • Katy G.

    I live in Atlanta and saw this on Yahoo. I was willing to pay someone to go back and resteal the dog to get it to a vet and NOT tell the authorities (although I understand why the rescuers did so — and kudos to them for taking action–you are my heroes). I see now that everything has been done… almost. I would start a petition to prosecute/sue the HUMANE SOCIETY and the county animal authorities for being complicit in felony animal abuse. And even more — let this be a platform for getting Washington’s dog chaining and abuse laws changed. Please don’t let KiKis’s suffering be in vain. And get her abusers thrown in JAIL — either the father/grandfather or the property owner.

  • Hazel

    Angel You are delusional or know nothing about caring for a dog. PLEASE explain the embedded collar. Please explain why the vet said she was in bad shape If she is so-loved, If she was very sick, has she been taken to the vet? If she was very sick, why was she left out in the cold where she was shivering? This dog should not have to be subjected to any more of your grandfather’s love. It will kill her.

    I would really like to hear you explain all the above instead of making Again….when did your “loving” grandfather take this dog to the vet if she is so sick?

  • Hazel

    The following comments are from Melissa Burke who saw the dog…..read her comments below. This is what Angel Lee thinks is loving care. I hope this woman does not have a dog.:

    This dog was absolutely starving, covered in mange and rain rot. She wouldn’t, couldn’t stop chewing on herself. I brought her food, she had no idea what it was. That construction worker was right, we had to cut the chain she was on, because the chain was fastened around her neck so tightly i couldn’t get my two tiny fingers through it!! Even though she had a collar they could have put it on. Her home was a shitty dog house with zero blankets on Cement. Her water bucket was a 5 gallon bucket, which I’m sure she would have a hard time drinking out of unless it was full. I witnessed the construction worker pour a small amount of dirty water out of it, & put fresh water down for her. He did this because he knew we were interested in the dogs condition. It was obvious this dog had been out on this cement porch for years by herself. The only reason she was seen, is because they are building a new fence. When the old one came down she was exposed. Also, there was no ripping the dog house roof off. We gently lifted the roof off, & gently picked her up, she could hardly stand.

  • Cookie

    Good job concerned neighbors!!!! – if animal services take their sweet time for the investigation and all the bureaucracy and extra lengthy red tape, the dog would have not survived. From the pictures there is no doubt the dog was neglected and abused.

  • Donna Holmes

    They did what what any civilized human being would do. You people who returned the dog to the asshole owner, SUCK! I hope you all have a miserable life for the rest of your fricken years to come! The owner is nothing but scum of the earth!

    • Jeanette Mcclernan

      I let a cat agency take my nieghbors cat becos she was neglecting him..leaving him.out always looked like n he would come to my window screaming for food..along with other strays I fed..he had cuts was getting skinny n dirty…after I let someone take him n foster him n to get nutered…vetted..the nieghbor said to me..you got my cat..angrily..I said no…becos I dont have..but rescued..she acts like she wanted cat..yet neglected it..dont make scence..n I already told her before..get ur cat veted n dont keep outside..n I gave plenty of time for her to keep him..but didnt hsppen on her part takn care of him or goid..so I stepped in..I dont want to take no ones pet..n I hav enuf of my own..but I had to think of cats welfare..he even ran to my door..while they..owners,were outside.he wanted help..n he as lmist got runned over by car one time..now he in safe place getting good care..praise God..that x owner brought that on herself..n needs to live n learn..amen.

  • EmilyC

    I would not have taken the dog to the Humane Society. I would have taken it into rescue, never to experience this cruelty again. The SOB owner who believes it is ok to chain a dog in the yard is nothing but shit. The rescue failed because the people taking the dog were not smart enough to take this dog covertly. Good intentions but poorly executed. Be smarter next time.