There is so much to say and I am just too emotionally exhausted so I will try to keep to the main points. But the VERY VERY GRAPHIC photos you are about to see are a result of a "rescue group" called Pit Stop for Change, Rescue & Rehabilitation. This is what their founders: Dave McMurtrie and Kayli Donaldson, did to the dogs in their "care".
If the names are familiar, they are indeed the same rescue group that was featured on a past episode of "Pit Bulls & Parolees". A group that at the time, appeared to have what it took to be a caring organization. Right after their episode aired, they ended up losing their location in River Rouge, Michigan and we offered to temporarily house them in New Orleans until they could afford to find a place back home. I personally (Tia Torres) covered all their expenses: rent, utilities, dog food, supplies, vet bills and even supported them personally so that they themselves could eat.
Making a long story much shorter, they were doing well for quite awhile and then...we began to notice on their FB that they were starting to take in more dogs than we felt comfortable not only financially supporting but also more than they could take care of. We tried to mentor them and they appeared to "understand". But we were wrong...horribly wrong. The more we tried to assert any type of authority, the more we were shut out. We then told them that we were coming to the building to pick up some of our dogs that were housed there.....no response. Nothing. Completely ignored.
All communication from Pit Stop for Change, Rescue & Rehabilitation stopped and they literally locked themselves up in that warehouse and we couldn't get it. We called law enforcement and even they could not make any type of contact with them. Our worries began to feel heavier by the day and we felt helpless.
Finally, we had to ask the landlord for help and after several attempts to make contact (again to no avail), he posted an employee up outside to catch them when they came out (they only came out at night). They were finally told by the building owner - GET OUT and to "give Tia her dogs back". One of the founders of this rescue; Dave McMurtrie looked the landlord right in the eye and said "what dogs? Tia never had any dogs here".....my heart sank. I knew they were up to something at that point but NEVER did I think they would steal our dogs.
As they began their move, the following story on them came out:
We continued to monitor there "coming's and going's" so that we could gain access to the warehouse (and continued to call law enforcement) We discovered security cameras had been installed thus the reason they would never come to the door.
We again called the police and while waiting for them outside the building, in a fit of rage, Dave McMurtrie came out and attempted to run two of my workers down on the street. They, in turn, jumped in their car and tried to get away from him but Dave chased them down, attempted to hit their back bumper and push them off the road. They were able to get away and Dave was spotted going back into the warehouse, locking the doors behind him.
While continuing to wait for police to arrive (New Orleans police take hours), Pit Stop for Change, Rescue & Rehabilitation managed to slip out the back gate driving two more Penske trucks, we assume filled with dogs. Reluctantly, we entered the building.
Yesterday morning this is the scene we walked into. It was something that could only be described as a house of horrors for dogs. Dead dogs, skeletons, decomposed bodies, maggots... well the pictures speak volumes. So far we are up to (4) dog skeletal remains and (1) decomposed dog body with several more "black trash bags" to go through.
Myself and my employees are emotionally destroyed. The guilt I carry for trying to help these people and their dogs is something that I'm having a hard time dealing with right now. Not knowing where our dogs are at and of course also worrying about the dogs they have with them is almost too much to bear.
Then there is the financial burden on our rescue. We are responsible for this cleanup and the money it's going to cost to fix this building back up. I cannot apologize to the landlord enough for being kind enough for allowing me to bring dogs into his building when he was reluctant to do so. It is now my responsibility to make this right. There are so many people that have been hurt by Pit Stop for Change, Rescue & Rehabilitation. But right now our focus is on the dogs that are in possession.
I will NOT STOP looking for our dogs. And even though the majority are not VRC dogs, I will NOT STOP trying to fight for them to get all to a better place. But most importantly for the dogs whose lives were lost...there is NO STOPPING ME in seeking justice for them. We are seeking criminal and civil charges against Pit Stop for Change, Rescue & Rehabilitation, Dave McMurtrie and Kayli Donaldson.
VRC is in a lot of pain right now. We are having a hard time dealing with this and feel very betrayed in trying to help this rescue group. I, personally cannot apologize enough to all of you, that trusted me when it came to my desire to help this rescue group.
But the worst is seeing what these dogs have been going through. My heart is crushed. Will they ever forgive me for not being able to get to them in time? My soul feels empty and we are hoping that finally now, law enforcement will help us get retribution for the dogs I couldn't save.