A woman living in a makeshift hut under a tarp, with no running water and no electricity, is running a deadly dog camp in Sky City, a remote area of southern California, about 20 miles from Palm Springs.
The property does not have fencing around it, so the dogs roam freely and have no proper housing.
The average daytime temperature in the summer is around 110 degrees, but it can reach 135 degrees. This is desert country: hot, windy and very dry.
Mary Bernadette Schwenn was arrested at her property by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department on July 1 on suspicion of not providing medical care to an 8-year-old female dog who was suffering from a uterine infection. The dog was euthanized in early May by a veterinarian.
However, Schwenn posted bail immediately and returned to her property. Her hearing on this will not be held until September, and she could ask for a continuance, as she has succeeded in doing previously.
September is many, many hot summer days away, and it is imperative that these dog killing fields be closed down as soon as possible.
You can click here to see the horrifying photos of these animals, but be warned that they portray dead and dying animals.
Hundreds Of Dogs May Have Died
During the 17 years that Schwenn has lived in these wretched conditions with her unaltered dogs, it appears likely that several hundred dogs have died there.
Local resident Kitty Pallesen had been trying to help by bringing water to the dogs. One night she made a horrifying discovery:
From Desert Star Weekly:
“As I walked to the upper camp that night to deliver the water, it was deathly silent. Every night for the past five nights, I could hear them crying during my approach. I had a moment of hope that they would be all gone and that Animal Control had come for them. When I reached the upper camp, they were all laying there dead.”
“When I found their little bodies lying all around on the ground, I called the Sheriff and Animal Control to come right now to see them. They didn’t come. That night Schwenn called and left me a message that all the puppies died because Animal Control bought parvo there. She buried them before Animal Control could get there the next day.”
More than 25 puppies died slowly over a five day period.
Pallesen also recounts what happens when the pack of Schwenn’s dogs runs out to neighboring ranches, desperate for food and water.
“When the pack makes a kill of a rabbit or whatever else they can find, even the starving puppies try to eat. This is the most dangerous time of all for them. They get shredded in the midst of hungry frenzied kills by the adult pack. Some get killed instantly. Some crawl away to die slowly,” Pallesen said.
Pallesen estimates that there are at least 40 dogs still on the property: older dogs suffering in the heat, pregnant females ready to give birth any day and puppies desperately trying to stay alive.
According to animal advocate Cheryl Poindexter, six litters of puppies have died this summer from the triple-digit heat.
When Animal Control visited, they found that pups were seen one day and not on another day. They also commented that the smell of rotting flesh was prevalent.
Why is Schwenn still able to run her deadly dog camp?
Animal Control has stated that it cannot go on the property again because Schwenn has filed three lawsuits against them for trespassing.
Take Action Now
This atrocity must end. Please sign Christy Schilling’s (Care2 member and President of The Animal Protectorates) petition demanding that the Riverside County District Attorney amend Release Conditions for Schwenn to ensure that she is banned from further access to or possession of animals pending her trial for animal abuse, and asking Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit to investigate the handling of this situation and take action.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock