Two Dogs Rescued From Horrendous Living Conditions, Thanks To Efforts From Neighbor Ann Simkins

Two Dogs Rescued From Horrendous Living Conditions, Thanks To Efforts From Neighbor Ann Simkins
Photo courtesy of Ann Simkins
Photo courtesy of Ann Simkins

Last week, neighbor Ann Simkins, who runs Small World Pet Sitters, was meeting a new client when the woman asked to show her something: two dogs being kept in inhumane conditions in the yard of a grocery store on Flatbush Avenue, by Dorchester Road.

The client had already called 311 and Animal Care & Control, but both agencies were unable to help or get access to the yard.

Immediately, Ann was livid. The dogs were being kept in the extreme heat, rain, snow and frigid temperatures with no shelter or fresh water. They were living in a yard filled with trash and feces, and neighbors would throw cigarette buts into the area for the dogs to eat, Ann said. One of the dogs had lost most of his fur.

Distraught, Ann posted two photos of the dogs on Facebook, asking for help on July 12. Immediately, people started sharing — and the post ended up being shared 335 times within days. Now, the dogs have been rescued, thanks to Ann’s incredible efforts.

Ann recently shared her story with us, as well as advice for neighbors who have witnessed animal abuse.

What was the series of events that led to the dogs ultimately being rescued?

Well, internally I was livid. I went home, and the woman I met emailed me some pictures and information for location and the standard of living she had witnessed the dogs living in. I forwarded the email to Phoebe Jonas, a longtime client and friend who I have learned so much from in regards to animal rescue and neglect. I also emailed Christine Klimek, our amazing pet sitter because she is so knowledgeable in animal welfare. On Saturday, I debated about posting on Facebook. Fear of speaking up for these dogs held me back. But, Sunday morning I posted and then people just started liking and sharing the post. I called 311 and so did a friend. I called the 70th Precinct and spoke to an officer that answered the phone numerous times over a period of three hours. He got the 311 complaints and sent out officers. Unfortunately, the officers were denied access to the backyard so they left.

Another client, Adelia Honeywood, who is very involved in rescue, TNR and Uncaged New York, tweeted the info to the NYPD division of the Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad (ACIS). Other amazing people contacted me and put me in touch with people all over the country who also had contacts here in NYC. (I want to thank ALL of them).

Monday morning she gave my information to an officer from ACIS. An hour later the detective called me and asked some more questions. About two hours later I received a call from the detective to tell me he had the dogs.

Photo courtesy of Ann Simkins
Photo courtesy of Ann Simkins

What advice do you have for people who too have noticed animal cruelty? What are the steps they should take to make sure the animals are rescued?

Don’t be afraid to speak up. The animals that are abused and neglected do not have a voice, so we have to be it for them. Take pictures; they go a long way. Call 311 and file complaints. You can do it online too. Call 911. Call your local precinct. Tell your friends. Post on Facebook. Tag rescue groups. The detective from ACIS told me about 15 complaints had come through about these dogs and calling 311 and 911 was the way to go.

The more people that know, the stronger the voice becomes. Animals are not property. I understand everyone might not want to snuggle with their pet (the way I do ) but a mutual respect is so important.

Cases of neglect or cruelty fall under the purview of law enforcement but stray, starving animals do not, and that is where the hundreds of ordinary citizens like you and me and countless others pick up the slack. Anyone can empower themselves to help animals in need, and there are resources to do so. (TNR workshops at the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Alley Cat Allies, etc.)

[pullquote]Don’t be afraid to speak up. The animals that are abused and neglected do not have a voice, so we have to be it for them.[/pullquote]

Do you know where the rescued dogs are now?
I was told they were going to the ASPCA for medical attention and evaluation. Then they would be put up for adoption. The detective said they were very friendly dogs.

There were so many people who clearly felt very passionate about this — when you started seeing how many people were sharing this on Facebook, what did you think?

I felt that I was not alone and did not need to be afraid to speak up. There are so many good and caring people out there who love animals and go above and beyond to create a better standard of living for them.

What inspired you to act and try to get these dogs help?

I love animals. I always have. I think they have a special place in our lives and this world and really need to be seen as living beings with feelings and not objects.

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