By Joe Gorman
As humane agents tried to figure out Monday what led to a terrier mix being duct-taped and emaciated at a South Side home, the dog waited patiently in the back of a van inside a crate for the humans to straighten up the mess he was in.
He did cry and whimper on occasion.
The dog, and another with it, were both taken from the drive of a 131 E. Lucius Ave. home after agents received an anonymous tip that they were there and both were being mistreated. Both dogs were found chained to a garage and both were severely malnourished, with their ribs easily visible.
Humane agent Christopher Flak said in all his years in law enforcement he has never seen an animal with its mouth taped shut.
“When we walked up we were flabbergasted,” Flak said.
Flak said an investigation is being done and he expects charges to be filed at a later date. Agents were at the home a little before 2 p.m. Monday.
A city housing officer was also summoned and the occupants of the house were ordered to leave by the end of the day Monday because the house has not had gas since June. An electric stove was being used to heat the downstairs, and there were at least two large trash bags filled with 24-ounce beer cans, which spilled over onto the drive and the lawn on the vacant house next door.
The other dog, a Labrador mix, was waiting patiently as well. Flak said that dog had not eaten for awhile.
“He was aggressive because he was hungry,” Flak said.
A man inside the home came out to talk to Flak and his partner, Kym Woodburn, after they had been there for at least 20 minutes. He said the dogs were not his but then several other people showed up who lived at the home. Flak said a 19-year-old man told him he taped the terrier’s mouth shut about 7 a.m. Monday because it was “yapping.” The dog looked very thin and its collar sagged on him.
After several minutes, an older man and two younger adults showed up. Flak said they told him the Lab mix is a stray that they took in and the terrier mix was given to them by someone else who did not take care of him.
Flak and Woodburn also found two dogs buried in the backyard, one dog which looked like it hanged itself. He said the dog warden was aware of those dogs but he would investigate that as well.
There were two other dogs in the house. Flak said if the owners could not make arrangements for someone else to take them, then he would take them to Animal Charity. A veterinarian was on standby to cut the tape off the terrier’s mouth as soon as Flak was finished at the home.