RACINE — The dog taken from its owner against her wishes has been euthanized after officials noted it had been in “excruciating pain.”
Henry, the 17-year-old springer spaniel, had been in “a great deal of pain and suffering,” stated the March 16 letter from Countryside Humane Society to Joann Lonkoski.
Racine police responded to Lonkoski’s residence in the 2200 block of Summit Avenue on March 9 for a welfare check of a dog. Responding officers noted the dog’s fur was “very dirty and matted,” had “a very large red mass” hanging from the stomach area and he couldn’t get up and was moaning, according to their supplementary reports provided to The Journal Times on Monday.
“It was obvious the dog was in a lot of pain,” an officer wrote.
Another officer reported Henry appeared “distressed” and that he had a large inflamed tumor that prevented him from walking.
When officers advised Lonkoski that Henry was probably going to be put under given his condition, she reportedly became upset and “combative” and began screaming while telling Henry repeatedly: “Goodbye, I’ll see you in heaven.”
On Monday, Lonkoski told The Journal Times outside of her home that she was just “beside (herself)” after receiving the letter from Countryside. She had trouble speaking, other than to say: “I’m against it.”
A petition filed in Racine County Circuit Court last week, citing Wisconsin Statute 173, sought to have Henry returned.
Lonkoski and advocates with the Bristol-based St. Francis Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals allege Henry was removed from her home illegally.
“You can’t take away somebody’s property and kill it without due process,” Cindy Schultz, president of St. Francis, said Monday, adding the last time she had seen Henry about a month ago he had been happy and loved to be by Lonkoski. “There’s just no compassion here — for either the dog or her. It’s too bureaucratic. It’s too much of a bully thing.”
The humane officer reportedly stated “it is obvious that Lonkoski is unable to care for the dog,” in the officers’ report. Both reports noted the residence was dirty, messy and had a “foul” and “terrible” odor.
Lonkoski, 73, of Racine, has received five citations from Countryside. Rather than having cancer and tumors all over as Countryside believed, she previously said Henry only had one fatty cyst that the vet recommended against removing because of his age.
Lonkoski has said Henry was not neglected and while he was an elderly dog, he was not sick or suffering or in pain.
She previously told The Journal Times that she took care of Henry in the basement for two days until she could get help for the elderly dog. Henry had gone downstairs but couldn’t get back up on his own and was too heavy for her or the vet to lift. Lonkoski said in the petition that she knew Henry’s days were numbered and when it was time, she wanted the vet to come to the house to put Henry to rest as she held him.