Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nevada: Teri Askew calls herself a rescuer; authorities call her a hoarder

NEVADA -- There's a battle brewing between a dog rescuer and the county agency investigating her for animal cruelty.

The woman won't go down without a fight and she's speaking exclusively to Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears.

Teri Askew (aka Kimberly Terese Askew, K. Teri Askew, Terese Askew, Teri K. Askew, Kimberly Askew), who runs a rescue called "LabradorRetriever RescueofNevada", vividly remembers the October day that "the biggest nightmare of my life happened."

Authorities seized 18 dogs from her -- six times the amount legally allowed in a private home -- after several people called Clark County Animal Control.

"We want to help the dogs and she just refused and refused and we couldn't walk away," said Jennifer Coppock. "We couldn't leave the dogs in that condition."

Askew signed a voluntary surrender form, but claims she did so under threat of arrest.

"I did not deserve to have my dogs taken from me! They didn't deserve it," Askew said.

But she admits she crossed the line between rescue and hoarding.

"It was too much. I knew it. I just got so busy and overwhelmed. But I tell you what, though... I love every one of them dearly."

Askew says she's been rescuing special needs dogs from all over the country for 20 years, saving those she says no one else will help.

"Deaf, blind, crippled, paralyzed, deformities, old."

County records call most of her dogs malnourished and emaciated. She fed them all a raw diet.

"Well, dogs are carnivores. So they eat what nature designed them to eat."

Feeding dogs a raw diet means just that -- literally giving them raw meat and Askew's got freezers full of it in her garage. One is full of chicken and turkey and another is filled to the brim with beef, pork, lamb and fish.

She says it's not a matter of not enough food, but merely one of portion management.

Veterinary experts say there are other concerns too.

"We worry about the food being contaminated with salmonella, campylobacter and a number of other organisms," said Dr. Ruth MacPete.

We showed Dr. MacPete pictures of the dogs authorities seized.

"And I would want to know as a veterinarian, why? Why is this dog so thin? Has this dog been tested for parasites? Is there a medical condition that this dog has or is this a case of starvation?"

When we asked to see veterinary records documenting the condition of the thinnest dog, Askew said, "If I have a vet on the phone helping me, I don't need to go down and spend $400. And that's why I don't have updated records on everybody."

Most of the dogs also weren't vaccinated for rabies and many weren't spayed or neutered.

"But there are also exemptions to the law," Askew said, "Which I did not have -- also violations on my behalf."

Gina Greisen with Nevada Voters for Animals helped write the law making some animal cruelty cases a felony. She believes that in Askew's case, authorities have overstepped their bounds.

"Someone who's a rescuer who was trying to help animals and crossed the line and possibly even may be in a hoarding situation -- which we're working on a bill this session to address that -- I just didn't see any willful or malicious intent in that."

Per Greisen's mindset, if children are living in squalor, starving, covered in flea bites and lice, living in a feces and urine-covered home, not having utilities and living in the dark and unable to get a glass of water or to bathe or flush a toilet... this isn't child neglect because, per Greisen, there was no "willful or malicious intent" by the parent.

Askew wants the chance to have her own vet examine the animals being held at the shelter before the county adopts them out or euthanizes them.

"It's not a matter of me wanting them back. That's what I want people to understand. I don't expect to get all my dogs back. But I can't live not knowing what happened," she said, breaking down in tears. "I just can't."

Late last week, a judge granted Askew a restraining order against Animal Control and the Animal Foundation to prevent them from killing, transferring, selling or in any way disposing of any of the 18 dogs.

Neither Animal Control, the Animal Foundation nor anyone from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Animal Cruelty unit would talk due to the ongoing investigation.

Askew still has not been charged with any crime.

There's a court hearing on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction set for Thursday morning and Contact 13 will be there.


To: "Help Us Get Safe" , "OTRA Breed Rescue" 
Cc: TRANSPORT-COO...@, "ess4us" 
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2016 10:42:12 AM

DNARTF: Teri Askew, NV
Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:34 am (PDT) . Posted by: katmachec
This case is currently under investigation with possible pending charges, so what we can share at this time is limited. We will provide a link in a couple of days to a website for updated information as we receive it.

Permission to crosspost.

Written 10/25/16

Teri Askew (aka Kimberly Terese Askew, K. Teri Askew, Terese Askew, Teri K. Askew, Kimberly Askew)

Las Vegas, NV

Teri Askew has been a rescuer of labs, deaf dogs, and dogs with other disabilities or health issues. She does not have, nor does she claim to represent, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. She self-identifies as an independent rescuer. She obtained or rescued most of her dogs from Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona and Texas (that we are aware of) and had them transported to her via relay transports or pilots. Since most dogs came from shelters, she used nonprofits and 501(c)(3) documentation from other groups that had these documents.

On Friday, Oct 21, 2016, Teri surrendered 18 dogs to Clark County Animal Control in order to avoid arrest and confiscation of the dogs in her house. Most were in an advanced emaciated state. The legal limit in Teri’s community area is 3 dogs, (or 6 with a fancier’s permit.).

Teri is an advocate of raw feeding, and despite having processed dog food in the garage and raw food in the freezer, the dogs were not being fed sufficient for their weight and size. 

Teri is also an avid anti-vaccination proponent, going so far as to tell one rescuer that vaccinating is torture and is effectively a death sentence for dogs, and so [in her mind] they are better off in her care. 

None of the 18 dogs were current on vaccinations, nor were they licensed with the city of Las Vegas or Clark County.

Most of the dogs were unaltered [unsterilized]. It is assumed by some staff that one young female had puppies. Since this particular dog came to Teri’s home at 4 months of age, she would have to have been bred and her puppies born some length of time after arriving at Teri’s house. There was no documentation found concerning the outcome or rehoming of any puppies, so for the moment this remains a suspicion to be investigated.

Teri frequently requests donations for her dogs by citing health issues, food needs, equipment needs such as crates, and/or rental vans to travel to obtain raw meat. She uses a co-op in CA that accepts bartered goods for the meat. The goods she barters are all donated items, usually from other rescues. However, one donor found her selling a donated crate and donated dog food at a garage sale. Since the donor was the one that donated these items, she recognized them.

Two witnesses to the surrender reported unsanitary conditions in Teri’s yard. Rather than dispose of dog waste, she simply relocates solid waste to one side of her yard where it remains indefinitely. The witnesses stated that some waste piles were several feet high. Teri also frequently had utilities turned off due to failure to pay. On Thursday, Oct 20, one witness determined that Teri’s water was off when she needed to wash her hands and she realized there was no water in the dog bowls. 

Teri did not have an adoption page or site. She did not attend adoption events. She did not take her dogs out of the house to be seen or walked. Her adoptions appear to have been by word of mouth. She told one rescuer that she would only adopt to homes that followed her anti-vaccination, raw food, and all-natural philosophies. These homes are rare to find, and yet she continued to take dogs in with the presumed intent to find them homes.

Teri frequently cited health issues for her dogs. She asked for donations to help pay for these health issues. 

When Animal Control removed the 18 dogs, she claimed that every one of them had health issues ranging from deafness, seizures, and canine obsessive-compulsive disorder, to crippled limbs, broken jaws, or torn ACL. 

Per Teri, every dog that Animal Control took out of her house had some health issue. However, since there was no documentation of vet visits, it is unclear how she diagnosed health issues and came to decide what would be proper treatment to alleviate or manage the concerns.

 The standards of care she practiced run afoul of the best and shared practices of legitimate rescue organizations, the law of the land, and of basic human decency.

Katrina McGinnis, author
Lisa Tipton, Deaf Dog Rescue of America, witness
Jenn Coppock, witness
Kevin LaFleur, witness

Annex - Related News Stories FOX5Vegas/videos/ 10154626507651672 story/33482635/18- malnourished-dogs-removed- from-south-las-vegas-home

Julie Stevens
30 Vulcan Rd
Barnesville, PA 18214

(KTNV - Dec 7, 2016)