KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- FOX 4's special investigation into KCMO’s animal control, and the lack of prosecution for animal cruelty cases also opened up more information into the case of illegal dumping by city employees.
The employees were accused of dumping dead dogs on a property in Kansas City North, and one of those dogs' owners is disappointed those employees didn't face a harsher punishment.
Cheryle Gentry still misses her pit bull, diamond, even nearly a year-and-a-half after she died. But her sweet memories of Diamond are now tainted by the bitter memories of how Diamond's body was disposed.
"Nobody can take her place. I try not to get too mad and let my anger get out of control because like I said, she's gone, but she holds a place in our heart," Gentry said.
She says Diamond died in October of 2013, and she waited three weeks for the city to come and pick up her dead dog. She said she carried Diamond out to the curb every day on a cot, hoping she'd be picked up.
"Finally, I was like, ‘well are you guys ever going to pick her up?’ And they go, ‘Ms. Gentry, we went to the wrong house, we're sorry,’" she said.
The city denies this, saying someone from Gentry’s residence called 3-1-1 on October 30 to pick Diamond's body up. Then the city says the dog was picked up on November 4, still longer than the city's customary two-to-three business days for dead animal pickup.
But what happened next was even more upsetting for the already grieving pet owner.
In March of 2014, she said she was contacted by someone from the city, saying her dog, which had been microchipped, was found dumped in a wooded area in the northern part of Kansas City.
"’Ms. Gentry, you're about to be fined.’ And I'm like, ‘I'm fined for what?’ And he's like, ‘indecent disposal of your dog,’ and I'm like, ‘what do you mean? The city came out and got my dog. Mister, don't play,’" Gentry recalled.
It was later revealed there were five dead dogs, in trash bags, and all had been dumped by city sanitation employees. At the time, the city promised strong consequences.
"The end result of what happened is still being investigated, but I can tell you that leadership up to and including city manager are very upset about this and disciplinary action is expected up to and including termination," said Chris Hernandez with Kansas City’s communication office.
FOX 4’s open records request revealed one employee no longer worked for the city, but Hernandez says he can't comment on whether he or she was fired due to this incident, citing personnel issues. He also won't comment on the status of the second employee, though he hasn't said if that employee is no longer with the city.
Gentry said because of what happened, she's lost trust in the city, and her heartbreak over the way Diamond's body was handled stops her from getting another dog.
“I don't want any more because I don't want to go through the pain and the agony of disposal, and knowing that something would happen in the end," she said.
The city employees were never charged with a crime, even though a city statute doesn't allow dumping of indecent material on public or private property. Hernandez said the city prosecutor determined the issue was best handled as a personnel matter.
Also, after FOX 4’s investigation, a concerned citizen started a petition to change animal control operations in Kansas City. On Wednesday, she and other animal activists will present a proposal to the city's public safety committee at 10:30 a.m., including the petition which now has over 4,000 signatures.