Gautier family frustrated by animal control's slow response

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Imagine three small puppies left abandoned outside without food or water. A Gautier family saw that tragedy unfolding and tried to help. But calling the city's animal control office went nowhere.

Mikael McKnight and his family have some harsh words for the Gautier's Animal Control Unit.

"They need to get off their butts and do the job that they are supposed to do," McKnight said.

McKnight's neighbors moved out about two weeks ago and left the puppies behind. He said his family called animal control at least six times, but didn't get much help.

"It is always the same. 'We can't do anything. You have to wait until he is off of vacation and then he will come out,'" Rebekah McKnight said. "What if they [the puppies] don't have time?"

The McKnights, along with other neighbors, had been feeding the puppies and giving them a lot water to stay hydrated until help arrived.

"It is hot, and they would starve to death and they would die," Mikael McKnight said as he played with the puppies.

His daughter, Lilith, had this to say about the abandon animals. "I really love the puppies and they are too young to be alone."

While WLOX was there Wednesday, animal control and police finally showed up to pick up the puppies.  They said Gautier only has one control officer due to the tight budget. And when he's on vacation, the county helps out.

"I don't know if there was a breakdown in communication due to working with two agencies," Officer Tom Spicer said.

Police said they take full responsibility for this puppy problem and promise to investigate, so it won't happen again.

"You don't want to lay blame on anyone. It shouldn't have happened and it is going to be taken care of," Officer Spicer said. "If it was not for the families and the children, they took good care of the puppies until we were able to come out here and get them."

Police are also looking for the owners who left the pets without food or water. When found, they said the owners will be charged with animal neglect.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.