4 more puppies stolen from shelter; 1 buried alive

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CROCKETT COUNTY, Tenn. — Four more puppies were stolen from a rescue shelter in Crockett County that was stolen from earlier in the week. Three of the four puppies have been returned, but what happened to the fourth is heartbreaking. According to Gadsden police, five puppies were stolen Monday from Companion Rescue and Transport in Crockett County. “The original theft was on our outside kennels,” owner Rick Bowen said. “I put locks on all them yesterday, and when they came back I guess they saw the locks so they were in the barn this time and took four more.” The crew had been working all week to add security to the shelter, but before they were able to add locks to the barn they discovered four more puppies had gone missing on Thursday. “I got here this [Friday] morning to go take some dogs in for altering to the vet and went into the barn side and realized there were some gone again and I thought surely not,” kennel manager Sarah Stringfellow said. “I mean, surely they wouldn’t come back — and they did.” Three of the puppies were returned earlier on Friday. However, Bowen said he could tell something had gone wrong. “I just knew the chief was coming to see me, and I knew something was wrong when they pulled up in the truck and they were going to the back of the truck,” he said. Stringfellow describes the puppy that didn’t make it back alive. “One of the puppies, his name was Mater, he had little short legs. He wasn’t about but 10, 11 weeks old,” she said. By the time authorities found Mater, it was too late. He had died from being buried alive. “We were told by the chief of police in Gadsden that he was buried alive when they found him this morning,” Stringfellow said. Those who work at the shelter say they are heartbroken, but this tragedy isn’t stopping them from their mission. “We’re going to keep going on of course,” Stringfellow said. “There’s many puppies to save.” Gadsden Police Chief Jeff Sills says two juvenile suspects were taken to the detention center in Jackson on Friday afternoon. They each are being charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft and one count of animal cruelty. Chief Sills says the investigation is ongoing and that he expects more arrests.

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