ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Vets say it's one of the worst cases they have ever seen, a pack of dogs so starved and mistreated that animal control staff broke down in tears at the sight of them. Their owner, a city worker, admitted everything to KRQE News 13.
Animal control officers working off an anonymous tip found the three starved dogs at a home near Coors and Central.
Starved doesn't even begin to describe what's happened to these dogs.
There is not a bone in Cesar's body you cannot see; his ribs, hips, and spine protrude from his skin. The same goes for his two friends, Rockstar and Baby Bop.
All three dogs are about half the weight they should be.
"Pretty much everyone who saw these dogs, who came in today, was in tears," Westside Shelter Veterinarian, Dr. Nicole Vigil, said.
News 13 confronted the dogs' owner, Tim Chavez, Thursday. Chavez refused to go on camera but said he wasn't feeding the dogs because he could not afford to do so in the bad economy.
Dr. Vigil says that's ridiculous, "This is not acceptable under any circumstances regardless of economy."
Turns out Chavez is a city worker hired about a year ago, working in family services and this isn't the first time he's dealt with animal control.
"There is a history at the address with the same owner," Cpl. Albert Benavides with Animal Welfare said.
Benavides says both Chavez and his father have surrendered dogs before that had to be put down. Dr. Vigil is working hard to keep these dogs going, but knows they are not out of the woods yet.
"I am surprised they are alive, these are tough dogs," said Vigil. "These are survivors."
In addition to being rail thin, these dogs have several other problems. Their ears have been cropped and are full of ticks, they also have mange and their nails are overgrown. It's fair to say the dogs are in a lot of pain in a lot of different places.
Dr. Vigil says they don't want to put the dogs under any more stress and will wait a few days before cutting their nails, removing the ticks or even just giving them a bath. The dogs are now evidence against Chavez.
"There will be charges filed," said Benavides.
Animal welfare officers will make sure they never go back to Chavez.
"I don't know how anybody could do this to their animals," said Benavides.
Even though their ears are cropped, vets don't think they were used to fight because they're so sweet.
Animal welfare is still looking into the previous cases involving Chavez. They say they will try and get him banned from owning dogs again.
The city says they are looking into Chavez's employment and whether animal cruelty charges will cost him his job.
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