Phoenix animal shelter employee being investigated for dog abuse

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jul 20, 2016

One of the people entrusted with caring for dogs at a Maricopa County Animal Shelter is under investigation for kicking an animal repeatedly.

Chelsey Jenkins and her sister, Shania Brier, went to  Maricopa County's West Valley Animal Care Center looking to adopt puppies and said that as they were leaving the kennel area they heard a worker yelling as he tried to get two dogs into a kennel.

"He was, like, full on kicking him, hard." Jenkins said.

The sisters said that the employee was aggressive with both dogs, Hugo and Swirl, but that Hugo got the brunt of it and, at one point, the hinges of the cage door came undone and the dog was pinned underneath it.

"We were shocked. We were stunned because he was a worker and we wouldn't expect a worker to treat a dog like that,” Brier said.

The young women said they didn’t know what actions to take, so they went home and told their mother before later returning to fill out a formal complaint with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

In the meantime, their story was shared on social media and eventually made it to Kim’s Caring Heart Rescue, and the owner, Kim Kulpa, immediately went to the shelter to check out the dogs for herself.

“He was cowering on the ground as soon as I walked up and his eyes were bloodshot and his face kind of puffy, I knew something’s not right with this dog,” Kulpa said.

She decided to rescue the dogs and took Hugo to a veterinarian for x-rays and says that the injuries supported the sisters’ story.

"He had bruises on both sides of his face. She felt he had a concussion. His body had a little bit of swelling,” Kulpa said. “Consistent with blunt force or being thrown against a gate, possibly.”

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control said the employee is on administrative leave while it investigates.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Phoenix Police tell ABC15 that they have no record of any reports being made.

The employee has not been charged with a crime so ABC15 is not reporting his name.

Hugo and swirl will be up for adoption in a few weeks, anyone interested should email