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Posted on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

Seven cocker spaniels rescued after being dumped along road in Salem Township

By Lisa Allmendinger


A cocker spaniel named Marigold by the Huron Valley Humane Society in Ann Arbor was found abandoned with six other purebred dogs in Salem Township.

Angela J. Cesere |

Seven purebred cocker spaniels were recently found abandoned in Salem Township near the intersection of Five Mile and Salem roads, and the Humane Society of Huron Valley is looking for information about who might have dumped the dogs.

“Someone, most likely a puppy mill or backyard breeder, simply dumped these dogs off on a rural, dirt road and then drove away,” said Matt Schaecher, HSHV director of cruelty and rescue.

The Humane Society is offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the people involved.

Schaecher said five dogs were found on April 1, another dog on April 2, and one today.

"They were all found running loose," he said Thursday, after combing the area following up on calls from concerned residents who saw the dogs. “The dogs were dumped and left to fend for themselves. It’s disturbing to see dogs discarded because someone decided they could no longer be used to make a profit,” he said.


A cocker spaniel named Lilly by the Huron Valley Humane Society waits to be medically groomed. Her coat was badly matted, meaning she'll have to be sedated to be groomed.

Angela J. Cesere |

There are six females and one male, he said. There is a black and white dog, a solid chocolate, two chocolate and white, one blonde, one black, and one chocolate and tan.

The oldest dog is approximately 12 years old and the youngest is about 6. Humane Society officials said in a news release that the dogs “had clearly been used for breeding and did not receive proper care.”

Carrie Allen, the Humane Society veterinarian, is evaluating the dogs.

“All (the dogs) are in horribly neglectful states, with overgrown, badly matted feces-covered fur. It appears that they have been housed in small cages amidst their own waste,” she said.

Some are very old and appear to have had at least one litter of puppies a year for many years, she said. The dogs are being assessed medically and behaviorally, and officials are hopeful that all the dogs can be placed for adoption at the society's 3100 Cherry Hill Road location.


Blossom, a rescued cocker spaniel, waits to be medically groomed and fixed Thursday at the Humane Society.

Angela J. Cesere |

One dog is believed to be blind, and all were severely matted, but the first five found should be available for adoption Friday.

The abandoned spaniels are described as sweet, but several are a little skittish, and some have special needs. Anyone interested in the dogs can call 734-662-5585, or stop by the shelter, which is open daily from noon to 6 p.m. for adoptions.

Melinda Hart, past president of the Ann Arbor Kennel Club and current president of the Detroit Cocker Club said that cocker spaniels have to be kept groomed so the coat doesn’t mat, usually every 6 to 8 weeks.

When asked about potential health problems in the breed, she said that because of their drop ears, they are prone to ear problems, so owners need to keep a close eye on them so they do not get ear infections.

“Like many breeds, they can have skin, eye and thyroid problems,” she said.

Cocker spaniels are generally an active breed and rank as the No. 25 most popular breed in the country, according to American Kennel Club registration statistics. The dogs range in height from 13½ inches to 15½ inches at the shoulder.

Schaecher said if people would like to help, they can make donations to the Humane Society's cruelty department. Anyone with information about where these dogs came from should call the Humane Society anonymous tip line at 734-661-3551.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for and can be reached at


C Ku

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

We adopted one of them. He's chocolate and white, shelter name is Sage. We renamed him Chester. It's his third day at home. He's doing very well, though a tad skittish and not fond of men. He's a little snarly at other dogs, but getting along OK with our bigger dog. He's very, very sweet and would live on my lap if he could. I'm pretty sure all of them are adopted now! They're really nice, beautiful dogs. :)


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

A disturbing and well documented factoid of puppy mills ( although not necessarily this case) is that some of the worst are in Pennsylvania's Lancaster county where thrifty and resourceful amish and Mennonite farmers have extended their notions of purely utilitarian livestock to , in effect, high volume " puppy farming". Such cases really do lend credence to the hypocritical selective morality of those of us...myself included... who will regularly and happily scarf down cows and chickens and pigs etc ( not always raised in blissful circumstances) , but get outraged ( as i also am) at cases like this one involving beasts we view in more anthropomorphic terms as "pets". as a Humane Society volunteer i'm increasingly aware of such logical conflict , especially since the dogs and cats i attend are also feeding high on the food chain involving other beasts.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

loves fall...i think you are correct, and the PBS special you refer to drew heavily on the research in Russia of how low-adrenelin / tolerant of humans individual wild canines ( in russian experiments foxes) can within just a few canine generations be turned into human dependent and contact seeking near-dogs, both behaviorally and physically. Likewise a recent Nat'l Geographic issue on breeding pets featured this belayev research as a cover story.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

I think the weird disconnect between "pets" and animals comes from the domestication. Humans and dogs evolved socially, whereas humans and other animals (cows and chickens, for example) have always had a more practical relationship. PBS did a neat Nova on dogs and domestication and suggested that one of the reasons for our bond is that they respond to our behaviors and emotions in ways other animals don't.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

Ours was found as well pregnant and abandoned by the side of the road in Canton near that area I think. The rescue society that found her took her in and we adopted her not the pups. I really hate people who do something like this. Sucks really. She too is old. Now I am thinking of taking one. O well. I hope to find and dump something on that person. Sad sad sad. Thanks for the article.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

It is very sad about these pups. How can people treat animals this way to make a buck. I guess we can't be surprised look at the abuse of the elderly & children.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

What a face! I'd adopt all of them if I had the room. Doesn't AA have a law about how many dogs you can have in a private house?


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 3:59 a.m.

I hate to say it, but letting the dogs go on a road in decent weather isn't THAT bad. It sure beats some of the other ways people have disposed of pets, including hurling out of moving cars at highway speed, drowning, and the actions committed by people like Michael Vick. The owner here may have been neglectful and generally bad, but at least they let the dogs go somewhere where they had a reasonable chance at survival (as evidenced by the fact that they are now all in HSHV custody). I'm not sure if it's a good use of anyone's time to try and "hunt them down" or whatever is being advocated above.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

It's complete speculation that that was even the situation. I'm surprised is promoting that being the case. Maybe it's an animal hoarder who doesn't want to get busted, maybe it's just someone who sucks at raising pets, maybe it IS a puppy mill owner. At any rate, there are millions of mills out there and there's an easy way to put them out of business: don't buy their animals. When it's not profitable, they won't do it.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

The reason they want to find the person responsible is not so much because of the dogs who were dumped, but because of the dogs they MAY STILL HAVE. These were probably dogs who were not "producing" any more, there is a good chance there are more dogs like them where they came from, living in filth, having litter after litter with no medical care, unloved and uncared for. THESE dogs are now safe; the ones left behind are still in danger.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

Nonsense. You're setting the bar too low. They could just as easily have taken them directly to the Humane Society. Free-ranging dogs are bad for public health, private property, and the environment.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Take off your rose colored glasses. They were ill treated and tossed away. The location was likely chosen so that these creeps wouldn't be seen and the weather that day was just a lucky turn for the dogs. About the only one they've ever had evidently.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Just no. The way these dogs were treated before they were abandoned is THAT bad.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

It is a good idea to "hunt them down" to prevent future such abuses.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 10:26 a.m.

But how difficult would it have been to just drive over to HSHV and drop them off? That's what irritates me when people just abandon animals after it becomes too much trouble instead of taking them to a place they'll be looked after.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 3:35 a.m.

god bless the hshv. this is why i readily and regularly donate $$$ to this organization.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

I hope that area veterinarians will help the Humane Society identify owners of new puppies in the past year or two that could've been offspring of these poor dogs, then find their breeder(s). My heart goes out to these dogs - I wish we could adopt them all.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:17 a.m.

I hope anybody who may have purchased a puppy from this puppy mill recognizes these dogs and does the right thing by telling what they know. Anybody who can do this obviously has no conscience. I hope they are found prosecuted.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Although Dante only got down to the 9th level, there should be a 10th circle of hell reserved for animal abusers.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

This needs to be on Channel 2- 4 & 7 Someone will know who had the dogs last You know they did not come from to far away It needs to be on TV (alot) This is a shame


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

Why not on world news tonight? Get a grip! This is an unfortunate and unwarranted action by whoever did it. But it just proves again that this town cares more about animals than humans. There is another headline a couple stories earlier than this one. "Fire displaces six residents of Ypsilanti Township apartment" How many comments? 2


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 12:22 a.m.

Fyi dod see this on the news at 5:30- 6


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

This is so sad and do people rationalize treating other living things with such disrespect and then live with themselves? I hope they find the culprit and put a stop to this abuse.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

Out of curiosity, without a DNA test, how does one know these are "purebred"?


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

As an aside, the HSHV (and state law) requires that all the dogs and cats they release for adoption be sterilized before they are claimed. So the "purebred" status of these dogs might not be too important. There is a huge overpopulation of dogs and especially cats here. An estimated 15 dogs and 45 cats are born for every human that is born in the U.S.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

Eyeheart Brilliant! Forgot to add snarky though ;)


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:39 a.m.

Rice: That was the first thing I thought as well. However, you should know by now that the only comments you are allowed to make are those expressing: 1. Outrage 2. At the (alleged, mind you) perp. 3. Calls for justice (while remaining vague as to the "specific punishment") 4. Beat up anybody who deviates from 1,2 or 3


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

John B Just so you know. IF they are going to call the dogs purebred they should have some evidence. It was a valid question! A purebred dog is a dog of a modern breed of dog, with written documentation showing the individual purebred dog's descent from its breed's foundation stock.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 12:22 a.m.

Thanks Jimmy, as one who didn't have many animals growing up, I was genuinely curious as stated. John, geez shoot a guy for asking an honest uestion fer crying out loud!

John B.

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Rice: One doesn't, but what's your point? (And even the DNA tests for breed are not super-accurate, by the way).

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Rice, the dogs probably have all of the characteristics of the breed (color, height, shape, etc.) and HSHV is making an assumption.