Cindy & Richard Massa

Neglect of over 280 animals

Clifton, TN

Nov. 10, 2001

    

1 acre property at 5305 Dan Richardson Rd. Clifton, TN

Photos courtesy of Cause for Paws

Over 280 animals from dogs to horses were left behind when the Waynes County Sheriff's Department removed a 17 year old boy and a 6 year old girl from Richard & Cindy Massa's home on 1 acre of land at 5305 Dan Richardson Rd. The Massa's were divorced in 1992 but both continued to live at the residence.

     

Notice the conditions of the dirty water, the poodle wiehed less than 2lbs, was soaking wet and matted

Photos courtesy of Cause for Paws

Over 100 purebred dogs were housed in approximately 2x4 cages. Some had 15 dogs in one cage. The cages were about 4 feet off the ground with 2 feet of feces piled underneath. One very small poodle had its hair matted so badly that the skin was twisted and the eyes were almost shut. The dogs living on the ground did not fair much better. They had been sleeping in their food bowls because that was the only dry place they had. 1 bulldog had been bitten so many times in her 2-year life that the infections were deep insider her body.

The animals were left behind because initially we could find no organization that would help rescue them. 280+ animals are a lot of animals to house. Cause for Paws, USNMC Rescue and our organization, Through Their Eyes, The National Animal Abuse Registry worked to find a humane agency to help. Finally the Humane Society of Fayetteville came to the rescue and stepped in to help with legal action by that time over 150 animals had been moved.

In November, at a hearing, the owners were given the opportunity to turn over the animals and not face any further legal actions. They did not accept that plea bargain so the case proceeded to trial. The judge had already indicated he wants the situation "cleaned up".

  

Dogs living in filth, malnourised dogs

Photos courtesy of Cause for Paws

When the HS of Fayetteville confiscated the dogs, the poodle was not found. It was later determined that some (160) dogs were moved to another puppymill (40 were tracked to a puppymill in Milledgeville) before the warrants could be served. It is believed the dogs went to the other puppymills to sell on contract for Massa. The ex-husband released a Walker hound with red mange and 3 English Setters. All 4 dogs had tooth or gum problems and couldn't eat. They all were skin and bones and because they were all housed together were exposed to mange. Because the warrants were not yet served good Samaritans paid the medical expense of these animals.

Governor Sundquist called in Steve Hall, the Wayne County Director, Steve Southerland, an Environmentalist and Suellen Joyner, Regional Director for S. Central TN Department of Health to investigate the case because of the help of I-SPEAK. The Davidson County Humane Society assisted with placements/adoptions for the dogs while The Tennessee Horse Council assisted with the horses. The Humane Society of Fayetteville/Lincoln County was asked by the DA to continue to oversee the care and feeding of the animals. As of November, most of the animals were still on the 1-acre property because temporary housing could not be found for so many animals.

On December 1st, Judge Ross gave the order to have any dogs and pups removed from the property that The HS felt were in danger. This order was given because Cause 4 Paws took two of the neglected dogs to the judge's office. Judge Ross's secretary had him called out of a court case to view the conditions of the animals. When the HS went to get the dogs, they discovered 27 dogs missing - the owners stated they were stolen.

All the dogs removed at that time were put on antibiotics for pneumonia or infections of one kind of another. 1 tiny poodle (weighing in at 3.8 lbs) had no hair and was missing most of his lower jaw. All had every parasite imaginable, a handful had mange, several had heartworm, which was treated, many had foot problems from the cage wires they have walked on all their lives. One tiny pup needed steam therapy to help him breath. The Veterinarian bills far exceeded $6,000.

On 12/1/01 all the small breed dogs including 8 beagles (which included 3 pups by two mothers); 10 poodles (from tiny to 14 or so inches tall); 1 Shih Tzu with bad hind legs; 6 rat terriers and 2 schipperkes were removed by the court order. Several animals were in critical condition and required emergency veterinary treatment, and one of the dogs subsequently died. The rescue team had to wade through ankle-deep excrement and mud and avoid tripping on barbed wire that had been strewn over the property.

  

Notice the 2 dead duck carcasses

  

Soaked to the bone horses some standing in barbed wire

Photos courtesy of Cause for Paws

5 geese and 5 ducks; 3 horses; 2 miniature horses; several cats; many goats; exotic birds and several rabbits remained behind. They were living in dirty, filthy water, had no food or food that was so wet it stunk from mildew. Several ducks were found dead on the property. Most of the geese and ducks were killed at the jaws of the free roaming dogs. The rabbits disappeared before they could be rescued - the Massa's accused the HS of stealing them. The cats were never caught - they were feral.

There was a little potbellied pig being neglected in this case. Shepherd's Green Pig Refuge had offered to take the pig and keep her at the sanctuary at their expense in order to save this gal. The Judge refused to allow her to be taken away when the dogs were removed because Judge Ross was not convinced the pig was not livestock. The pig (known as Rosie Belle) was sick, living in a small pen filled with filthy, fecal contaminated water. She stood on a pallet with her front feet in order to keep from drowning. She could not lie down or sleep and she was not eating.

       

Rosie Belle was living in this small pen, her injured hooves, her water and surroundings

Photos courtesy of Shepherd's Green Pig Sanctuary

The sanctuary eventually bought the pig in order to rescue her, as the court or the Massa's never released her. Shepherd's Green made an offer of $200 to the defense attorney with another $500 to go to the Tennessee charity of the Massa's choice (it eventually went to St. Jude's Children's Hospital). The Massa's had purchased at a flea market had purchased just 8-9 months prior Rosie Belle.

Several years before the family had problems with the authorities in Perry County.

There is a court order stating Massa cannot own or keep an animal of any kind for 10 years. The children were returned to her only after she found new/suitable housing.

  

Happy Endings - Rosie Belle was adopted and shown in her new surroundings

References:

Elk Valley Times

Cause for Paws

Shepherd's Green Pig Sanctuary

Humane Society of Fayetteville/Lincoln County