Ariel Castro allegedly tortured three young women inside his house of horrors in Cleveland, Ohio for a decade, leaving them with both physical and emotional trauma. He also kept the daughter he fathered with one of the women, Amanda Berry, captive. But few know that Ariel had others in that house -- others just as helpless as the women and the little girl. They were three dogs. One chihuahua and two terrier-poodle mixes. What happens to those dogs, who must have witnessed god only knows what horrors and abuse, remains to be seen.
Since the women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, were freed and their alleged captor Ariel Castro impounded, the dogs were also taken into custody. One was found with Ariel and his brother on the day of their arrest. Two were found inside the home.
From the beginning of this story, I'd heard neighbors talking about Castro's dogs. Neighbor Charles Ramsey, who was credited with helping free Amanda by kicking in the Castro's door, said that he would see Castro playing with his dogs in his backyard (at least the dogs were let outside unlike the women!). Once I heard that, I wondered what I always wonder when I hear a tragic news story about humans and somewhere in the news reports there is a mention of pets. I wondered what would happen to them. Usually the pets -- unless they are a big part of the news story -- are ignored by the press, and I never find out.
But this time, the press is paying attention. Reports first said that the dogs were being held for "evidence," which is kind of strange. What evidence could dogs possibly give? It's not like they can testify. The report also said the dogs were "impounded" and "suffering", which enraged me. Hadn't this man caused enough suffering? The humans were released and could begin healing. What about the animals?
Horribly, pets who are seized during crime investigations can often end up spending the rest of their lives in a cage, because they are needed as evidence. Also it can often be the criminal who needs to relinquish ownership of the pets, since animals are legally just property. Like a couch! There were even rumors that the three kidnapped women wanted to be reunited with the dogs -- but would probably never get a chance because Castro, a controlling type (obvs!), would likely not give them up. Even more enraging!
Apparently the dogs were treated okay inside the house of horrors -- they were in reasonably good health, though they desperately needed a grooming. But they did not appear to be beaten or starved the way the women were. Since the dogs were seized, they have been groomed, spayed, and neutered, and the shelter is going to hold onto them to see if any of the women want them.
If not, they may be put up for adoption. Meanwhile, they may also go to a foster home so they're not waiting inside a shelter. These dogs have been through enough!
There are rumors that the three dogs may have in fact been pets for the three women -- and not Castro's dogs. Which means legally they won't need Castro to relinquish them. If even they are his dogs, it sounds as if the law will be bent and the dogs will be given away despite Castro's jury-decided guilt or innocence not yet being determined. Which is the way it should be.
These dogs deserve to start healing too.
What do you think should happen to the dogs?
Image via CNN