Woman Accused Of Hoarding Animals in GR Home Now Has Close To 40 Dogs

Posted at 8:25 PM, Nov 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-28 20:29:05-05

Grand Rapids, Mich. — A woman accused of hoarding more than 20 animals in a residential home in Grand Rapids in mid-November has told authorities she now has close to 40 dogs.

Some of those recently adopted dogs came from Barry County.

We first brought you that story in mid-November and since that time, authorities have taken note.

At that time, the dog’s owner Kimberly Savino said she had moved here from Massachusetts where she had been operating a dog grooming service  as well as a “dog rescue”.

She told us she had moved here to live with her aunt and uncle to be closer to family.

Grand Rapids doesn`t have a dog limit. All the animals are fine,” said Kimberly Savino, the dog’s owner.

She had more than 20 dogs in the home at that time and didn’t feel that was too many to care for. “It really depends on the situation. For most people yes,” said Savino.

“This is something that we specifically built a home to do and we`re buying another one to do.

The animals are taken care of. It`s not an issue of quantity, it`s an issue of quality of care.”

However, a woman who was hired as a pet-sitter by Savino didn’t agree.

She felt the dogs were being neglected and were fighting and hurting one another due to the stress.

Renee Miles called animal control in Kent County on November, 4, to file a report, accusing her of hoarding.

“It really takes two people, when 18 dogs get into this tiny little computer room, they start to fight, I actually saw blood,” said Miles.

Savino said she fired Miles for breach of contract.

And that wasn’t the first report of dogs fighting.

A neighbor called animal control to file a complaint around August, 6, also saying there was concern that there were more than 20 animals in the home and they could be overheard fighting.

That person also reported fear that the animals were injured.

Now a newly released report from animal control is showing just how many dogs may be living in the home in the 2000 block of Oakwood NE in Grand Rapids.

FOX 17 got the report through the Freedom of Information Act.

It states that the number of dogs that she says she is caring for and is looking to purchase licenses for has grown to 37.

In a letter written to officials in Kent county, she stated that she, “relocated 12 more dogs from Massachusetts on November 5th and had adopted 3 dogs from Barry County at the end of September.”

After FOX 17 ran the report in early November, animal control also took note.

The report states Officer Joe Dainellis said, “local news media did a story on the dog owner Kimberly Savino…..Animal Control had an ongoing investigation into conditions…..”

Although they had a different inspection date set up, the officer went to do a surprise inspection the next day.

He states, “She was not prepared and she could not allow me to inspect on this date and time.”…”She told me that she had an appointment.”

That was the same thing she told FOX 17 when we asked to see the dogs just a day earlier. “Because we have a medical appointment,” said Savino.

Then she said, “No, I don`t want to do that actually.”

In response, the animal control officer reported, “I told her that I know the media did a story and when this happens people do not let us in until they have a chance to clean everything up and it almost seems like people that do that are trying to hide what`s really going on.”

The report states that Savino told the officer that she would rather have an inspection done with a lawyer present.

When the animal control officer was let into the home on November, 14, he said most of the dogs were outside of their crates, locked in various rooms of the home together or in an area outside.
However, he stated in the report, “I told Kimberly that there did not appear to be animal cruelty violations that I could charge at this point’….I advised that it was in my opinion too many animals to keep in a residential dwelling.”

Savino maintained in our previous interview that she feels it’s in her right to have the animals, as long as she can take care of them.

“Grand Rapids stands by it`s policy of not having a dog limit,” said Savino.

Officers say they warned Savino that she couldn’t keep animals confined in the crates for more than four hours.

They are also still in contact with her regarding late fees that have incurred for having the dogs for more than 30 days in Kent County without licensing them.

Animal control says there is nothing they can do to limit the numbers of dogs in a home because Grand Rapids has no ordinance limiting dogs.

They said in the report that it appeared that Grand Rapids was the only city in Kent County without such restrictions.