Ann Arbor, MI (July 22, 2015) –  29-year-old Ypsilanti Township resident Christopher Dykes was found guilty of animal cruelty on July 15th by the Honorable Judge Charles Pope, for having left a dog to starve to death after vacating a house on Calder Avenue this winter.

In early February, Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) Cruelty & Rescue received a call from one of Dykes’ neighbors. The neighbor reported hearing a dog barking and whimpering from Dykes’ residence until about 12 days prior. He said he had not seen Dykes in months.

“Mail had been piling up, and there were no tire tracks in the snow. Utilities had obviously been turned off, too. I just wish we’d received the call earlier,” says Michele Baxter, HSHV Cruelty Investigator.

The Honorable Judge Cedric Simpson granted HSHV a search warrant immediately. HSHV Investigators arrived to find rubbish strewn about, a floor covered with feces, and several full bags of dog food atop the refrigerator. They found the dead dog–a small, black and white, 2-year-old pit bull–curled up on the living room sofa, facing the front picture window.

“The dog was waiting for someone to care,” says Baxter.

The examining veterinarian stated the emaciated dog experienced a slow death.

“We know tragedies like this are hard for people to read about,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s President & CEO. “But this heartbreaking story offers an important reminder that we all play a role in preventing suffering. HSHV helps unwanted and abandoned animals every single day, thousands a year, because of the right action taken by a caring human. If the owner had brought the dog to the shelter; or the mail carrier, neighbor, or any passerby had called us sooner, this story could have had a happy ending. Our Animal Cruelty and Rescue Team is on duty 24/7 for just these types of reasons. Companion animals depend on us for their survival, and they have no way to call for help. They need us to do that for them.”

In addition to providing pet owners in need with shelter, food and veterinary assistance, HSHV staffs a Cruelty & Rescue hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HSHV encourages anyone suspecting animal neglect or abuse to call 734-661-3512 or go to

Sentencing for Christopher Dykes is scheduled for mid-August.


About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. For more information, call (734) 662-5585 or visit LOVE STARTS HERE!

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