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Owners reeling after death of 2 dogs under care of Toronto-area petsitter

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After seeing her dog's body removed from a freezer a day after leaving him in the care of a petsitter, Jenuen Monroe wants answers.

“If I had only known what I knew now about this woman, I would have never left her even near any of my pets,” Monroe told CTV News Toronto.

Last Saturday, Monroe brought her two bulldogs named Cartelo and Spicy to a service called Kippen Cares, located inside a home in Hamilton. Her plan was to take her partner for two nights to Toronto for Father’s Day.

On Sunday morning, however, she got a call from the business owner, Jessica Kippen.

“She’s like, ‘Yeah, like he's dead,’” Monroe said.

Monroe was informed that her dog Cartelo had died overnight. The couple cancelled their plans and came back to Hamilton. Driving straight to the Westdale area, Monroe asked for an explanation.

Upon arrival, she said Kippen said she had noticed the dog was lethargic and not eating, but did nothing about it.

Furious, Monroe asked to see her dog.

“She goes, ‘Well, he's in the freezer. I put him in the freezer,” Monroe said.

From there, Monroe and her partner said they pushed their way inside the home. They videotaped inside and noted bad conditions. Piles of junk, no air conditioning, and a few dog crates. Then, they said they went down to the freezer.

Monroe said, “My partner proceeded to open the one freezer that she said he was in and as he opened the freezer, we just couldn't even imagine how my dog was discarded in the freezer.”

They continued to film the home, demanding to see where the dogs had been kept. In the video, Jessica Kippen can be heard asking Monroe not to go through the house. Monroe noted that there was a distinct smell of bleach in the upstairs where Cartelo was found.

Cartelo’s body was later removed from the home.

Soon afterwards, Monroe posted her video to Facebook and soon after, another user had informed her that their dog died while at Kippen Cares on the same day. That dog owner, Cassandra Francesca, confirmed to CTV News that her dog Sammy died.

Both Monroe and Francesca called the Provincial Animal Welfare Service (PAWS). Francesca said that she hasn’t heard back.

Today, a spokesperson from the Solicitor General's office of Ontario sent a statement confirming an investigation had been launched.

It declined to provide further comment.

Neighbours who live near Kippen Care said there have been problems at the house for years. Retired Stelco worker Bill Carol lives down the street and said he has filed multiple complaints with PAWS and the City of Hamilton.

“It's disgusting,” Carol said.

Ross Sheppard lives behind the home and describes constant barking coming from the backyard that sounds “distressed.”

He said, “I mean, between us and our neighbors, there've been countless noise complaints by law to the city.”

According to the city of Hamilton there have been 6 bylaw infractions noted at Kippen Cares. Some of the more prominent include: “Fail to renew dog licence before expire, Keep more than four animals, Fail to licence dog, Fail where animal kept to be clean and sanitary, and operating without a licence.”

The city confirmed that Kippen Cares is not licensed and that “the use of a kennel is not permitted at the address that the business is currently operating out of.”

After the video and pictures of Cartelo were posted to Facebook, several protesters began standing across the street from the home where Kippen Cares is located. There are several signs posted to a tree in the front yard calling Kippen Cares a “dog killer.”

Terra O’Donnell is one of the protesters, she says, “It's not right. It's not right. What she was doing.”

One man who did not want to give his name says “I came here to protest a dog killer.”

Jessica Kippen has not been to the house since Wednesday. It was then that a car she was riding in was surrounded by a group of protesters. In a video posted to Facebook, several protesters can be seen yelling at Kippen while she sits in the passenger seat of the car. One woman can be seen throwing a water bottle at Kippen. Shortly afterwards, Hamilton Police arrived and escorted Kippen away.

In a press release issued on June 20, Hamilton Police said they were investigating the incident, adding, “the woman was assaulted and her phone stolen in the process. Police arrived and were able to escort the victim to safety. During the investigation, it was discovered that the victim’s residence had been broken into and her dog had been stolen.”

Police went on to say that animal welfare claims are not their jurisdiction.

When speaking with the protesters, they dispute the claim that Kippens' phone was stolen. Protesters did confirm that someone went inside the home where Kippen Care is run and removed a dog that they believed to be in distress. They would not say where the dog is, only that it is “within the community.”

CTV News reached out to Jessica Kippen a number of times on more than one platform but did not get a response. Jenuen Monroe says that she is focusing on advocating for her dog Cartelo and is eager to hear the results of the investigation.

“I still don't have answers of what happened in that house with my dog,” she says.

Monroe has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for an autopsy.

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