Dog abandoned and left to die in cage at Rock Falls home

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***Warning – video and photos in this story contain graphic images which may be disturbing to some readers.

A Rock Falls man faces possible charges after police said they found the man's pit bull abandoned and dead in a cage.

Neighbors say the man was renting the home, and he moved out more than a week before the dog was found, left behind in a cage with no food or water.

The dog was discovered by Larry Smith, who was hired by the property's landlord to clean the house.

"We walked around the backyard because there was garbage to pick up, then we saw a cage. There was something in it. It was a dead dog," Smith said as he pointed to the spot where the dog was found.

Smith said the dog was a pit bull that he believed couldn't be more than a year old.  The dog was left in a cage in the back yard, with nothing but a small blanket and an empty food bowl.

Smith called several neighbors, including Edward Kline. Kline then called police.

"When the police got here, they told us to put it in a trash bag," Smith said.

Smith recalled the stench when he picked up the dog.

"That dog had been there for quite some time," Smith said.

Whiteside County Animal Control officials confirmed they had been to the house on March 17, 2014.  A statement from them said the dog owner's ex-wife complained that her ex-husband had moved and left his dog in a cage in the basement.

When animal control officers arrived to investigate the ex-wife's complaint, they knocked on the door of the residence.

"Not seeing or hearing any signs or sounds or other activity of a dog from inside the house, we hung a door tag and left the area," the statement said.  "NOTE:  We also spoke with a neighbor who stated the person was moving out but he had not seen the dog since before winter."

Animal control officials said they did not hear from the dog owner, and heard nothing further about the case until they were contacted March 24 about a dead dog found by a worker cleaning a home on Lincoln Street.

Six days later, neighbors speculated about how someone could do something so cruel.

"This poor dog didn't have a chance. If he didn't want the dog I would have took it until I found it a home," Kline said.

Whiteside County Animal Control says they are investigating, and charges are pending after they consult with the state's attorney.

***Warning - Photos in the gallery below contain graphic images which may be disturbing to some readers.




    • pauljack

      I’m with you. I’m so upset! Why couldnt’ the owner just let him out to fend for himsefl. Oh how that poor baby must have suffereed. Makes me sick to my stomach.

  • Roy Appleget

    The author of this piece should be censured for use of the photo, as should the editor who signed off on the story. Fortunately the video would not load. This type of journalism is exploitive, sensationalist, and has no place. Your readers/viewers deserve an apology.

    • Andrea

      Did you not see this? ” ***Warning – video and photos in this story contain graphic images which may be disturbing to some readers.” Let me explain…..when you read this it means you may not like what you see….so don’t watch it! An apology for what? the news? Do you not even care what this story was about? “This type of journalism is exploitive, sensationalist, and has no place?” What does have it’s place a football game? Someone winning the lottery? This is news…it’s very sad to see but people should be made aware of animal cruelty and the things should be done about it!

    • Jamie miller

      I’m so upset about this Idk who the owners of that poor dog are but I feel they should be locked in a cage without food or water for a week or so they deserve jail time for what they’ve done heartless pos’ s

    • Anne Pollitt

      Apologize for the truth. WHY!? There was a warning. And besides people now a days seem to stick they’re heads in the sand and think everything will go away especially if it’s bad and just turn they’re heads. People need to see this kind of thing then maybe they will be moved enough to get involved more. It’s not pretty but it’s fact.
      I don’t think an apology is in order at all.

  • Charlie

    My problem is with WQAD, KWQC and WHBF calling Rock Falls or any town or city outside of the Quad City Community a part of the QCA. Since when did we annex Rock Falls, or Dixon, or Galesburg or Burlington?? If they are a part of the QCA, then where are their tax dollars at? This is just poor and lazy journalism.

  • Stephanie

    That is just not right if I knew there was a dog there I would have figured out a way to get it out of there especially if I knew they moved and the house was empty…. I would have kept calling police or even busted a window if need be. This is crazy,,, I myself would have at least tossed in food and water until someone could have saved the poor thing.. What can you do now the damage is done and sadly they just tossed the poor pup in the trash… Bury the poor pup let him go out with some pride and respect…

  • Arariel

    I’m sorry, did the article say the owner MAY POSSIBLY face charges? This is what’s wrong with this world. HE SHOULD BE JAILED!

  • Elaine Anderson

    People need to have their eyes opened to see what people are doing to animals and other people. Pay attention! If you see something wrong, do something. Oh I know. If you don’t see this stuff, you don’t have to do nothing. Get with it people.

  • J Anne

    I’m thinking putting that ex in a cage for a few days out in the cold might be a place to start the jerk’s incarceration.

  • jesse

    They need to track him down an jail him an her for wat they done to this dog she is just as guilty she new the dog was ther too thats wats wrong with people they turn a blind eye if a pit bull or any other dog bites someone its all over the news and they want to put them down wake up people its not the dog its the owner a dog does wat it noe’s

  • Meg T

    So many thoughts flood my mind. Animal control said they went to the house AFTER the “mans” ex wife called and stated he moved out and left the dog in the basement. It was at that point animal control made a house call. Basically They knocked on the door didnt hear anything. What? Was the abandoned dog suppose to answer? It didn’t occur to them that the dog may be so sick he can no longer bark? It didn’t occur to them that a basement door is preventing anyone from hearing this helpless pup!

    • Stephanie

      My thoughts as well many people say they didnt see the dog all winter but yet how did they know the dog was in the basement in a cage. Then the pup was locked in house woman said but then somehow popped up outside in the snow still in a cage.If this woman knew their dog was in their why did she not call the police and insist they kick the door in and save the pup.And if they were moving why did the landlord not check on his house sooner usally tenants want a deposit back and a landlord comes looking.Something tells me this abuse was going on while they where living there and no one all around did anything for this poor pup.And them neighbors had to know something.. I am not falling for it by looking at the mess around that yard they knew something was up..

  • Lynn Cornell Shurtleff

    FIND THIS MAN AND LOCK HIM UP. Can’t believe the neighbors didn’t see the cage in the back yard. Also cant’ believe the negligence of the animal control people who originanlly investigated the complaint. If you are told someone has moved and abandoned a dog, do you think they are going to come to the door or contact you? THEY MOVED = ARE NOT THERE. How stupid and lazy. They might have saved the dog. They should have immediately called the police to gain access to the house. They should be charged too.

  • Linda

    It seems to me that a huge problem is that local police do not take animal cruelty seriously. Why in the world would they tell the man to throw the dog’s body in the trash? Is this not evidence they need to convict the cruel owner? Law enforcement needs to be educated and animal cruelty laws need to be tightened nationwide.

  • michellle

    Sad thing is I know the person that did it and met the dog But never saw any signs of this comeing or being a problem

  • Dog lover

    I think this dog was being abused from the beginning. Who leaves a dog in a cage in a basement?? Someone knew what was going on. It seems no one takes animal cruelty seriously and I am tired of it. Things need to change. These poor animals cannot fend for themselves. Do people have any concious at all?? This makes me sick, and to think so many other animals whom we don’t even know of. This man deserves the maximum punishment for what he’s done and needs to be forbidden to ever own another animal again!! Shame on all of you that did nothing!!!!!

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