The Anchorage Police Department (APD) says two dogs are dead after a Chugiak lawyer moved out of her house and left them behind.
Neighbors called police March 6, asking for a welfare check because they hadn’t seen 59-year-old attorney Kathleen Murphy for some time.
“It was also relayed that the neighbor had health problems,” APD spokeswoman Renee Oistad said in a statement.
Oistad said when officers arrived at her home on Oberg Road, “it was clear there had been no recent activity as there were no foot prints in the snow.”
“Through the window police could see a lifeless dog as well as a house kept in very poor condition,” Oistad explained. “Concerned that the homeowner may be incapacitated or deceased, officers entered through an unlocked back door.”
Inside, police found garbage, animal feces and another dead dog, according to Oistad.
Police tracked Murphy down to her office in downtown Anchorage.
“It was discovered Murphy had left her home and the dogs behind several days prior and began living at work (she is self-employed),” Oistad wrote. “Murphy had a dog living in the office with her who was underweight and had urinated inside.”
Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) took that dog into its care, and police arrested Murphy, charging her with cruelty to animals by failing to properly care for them.
“Both the Anchorage Police Department and Municipal Animal Control ask citizens to call if they suspect a person or animal is in an unsafe environment,” she wrote.
Laura Atwood, a spokeswoman for AACC, echoed similar sentiments, saying in an interview, “You can always bring your animal to us and for whatever reason — you’re not able to care for them anymore, financial or your medical status changed, can’t care for them — it’s not an issue. We are here to help people out.”
She said AACC staff do about a thousand welfare checks each year.
For Alaskans considering surrendering an animal, Atwood said AACC has a high adoption rate and rarely puts animals down.
To learn more about AACC, visit the agency’s website or call 907-343-8122.
KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell contributed to this report.