Abandoned pit bull rescued, adopted while KC man faces charges after getting caught on camera

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's enough to make an animal lover's blood boil. A city codes enforcement inspector captured images of a driver abandoning a dog on a wooded stretch of Brooklyn Avenue.

Animal control officers in Kansas City say animals are dumped all the time, however, it's rare to have it caught on camera, which gives prosecutors evidence against the offender.

Mojave, a 3-year old white pitbull mix, was found dumped on the streets last week. A hidden camera was used to collect photographs of that dog being dumped from a green SUV with Missouri tags.

"When I saw the pictures, I went into a little rage blackout," Alan Ashurst, a KCMO codes enforcement inspector, said.

Ashurst is usually assigned to confront people using illegal dumpsites. On December 10, the hidden cameras he uses to identify dumpers caught images of Mojave. Ashurst's motion-sensitive cameras caught that driver pushing the dog from his car and driving away, as the dog followed his truck down the street.

"I hadn't even thought about the odds of catching the dog. I was focused on who this guy was, and who would do this kind of thing," Ashurst told reporters.

Ashurst called in Eron Dawkins, a KCMO animal control officer. Dawkins sorted through the photos, and recognized the stray animal from his rounds in east Kansas City. The two city employees used a piece of food to catch the dog.

"It's not too often we deal with cases like this where we have good photographs that give us a head start, as far as the investigation is concerned," Dawkins said.

A city spokesperson says that SUV has been traced back to William Frank Lee, 44, a Kansas City resident. Lee is being charged with four animal-related charges, including violation of the city's pitbull ordinance, since the dog wasn't neutered.

Tori Fugate with the KC Pet Project says it's often hard to convict someone of animal abandonment charges, since there is rarely evidence leading to the guilty party. However, Ashurst's photos may make the difference in this case.

"We would love to see more prosecutions. unfortunately, we see animals abandoned a lot. We have citizens who bring in animals that were abandoned in their area. They were found as a stray," Fugate said.

Fugate says a couple from the Northland adopted Mojave at the KC Pet Project's Zona Rosa location on Wednesday evening.

City prosecutor Lowell Gard tells FOX 4 News Lee could face two years in jail, as well as a sizable cash fine. However, that's unlikely, because he's only been cited for a violation of city ordinance.

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