WESTMINSTER, Md. - Four months after Animal Control carted away "Missy", a nine year-old Sheltie, the Carroll County Humane Society notified Laura Shenk.
"That's Missy---the one that's already been killed," she said as she displayed photos of the dog, "She was nothing, but skin and bones."
The dog's owner soon learned its fate had already been sealed.
"They said she had just collapsed suddenly, but that's obviously not true. You know a dog doesn't get like that all of the sudden,” said Shenk, “She was supposed to be receiving pancreatic enzymes so she could digest her food properly. The shelter director was notified of that in writing, and he just never bothered to share it with anyone."
Shenk says the Humane Society wanted to euthanize Missy, and when she tried to transport the dog elsewhere for treatment, they blocked her car and called the police.
Missy was one of 11 dogs that had previously been seized from Shenk's home in New Windsor, but prosecutors later dropped two dozen charges against her including animal abuse and neglect.
The founder of Animal Advocates of Carroll County, a group that once battled the shelter over its kill rate, Shenk soon learned her own dog had been killed there and this week, she lost yet another.
"My older dog, Tisha, who was 17 years old, I found out through my attorney yesterday that she's also gone and they've already cremated her remains. It seems like they must have been hiding something. Why would they have done that?” asked Shenk, “Now, I don't even get to see her or bury her. You know I usually, when I lose a dog, I save a lock of their hair, and I don't even get to do that."
Even though she no longer faces charges, the Humane Society has balked at returning Shenk's pets, but the shelter's acting director, Karen Baker, says it has spent $7,000 providing constant care to the animals so far, but some were in such bad shape when they arrived, she says, "Unfortunately, some things you just can't fix."
Meanwhile, Shenk claims she's being punished for raising questions about the shelter in the past, and now her pets are paying for it.
"They're just bullying. That's one of the issues that's been ongoing with them, although I've never seen them do it to anybody like this," said Shenk, "I want my dogs home. They're in danger in that shelter."
A hearing, scheduled in December, will give the shelter and the pets' owner a chance to present their cases over who could care best for the remaining dogs that were seized.