(Memphis) For three years, a couple living along Chelsea Avenue Extended has tried to rescue dog after dog, found dumped on the side of the railroad tracks just across from their front yard.
They often hear whimpering, which can lead them to a trash bag full of puppies, fighting for their lives.
“We find puppies all the time, plastic bags wrapped up. And we’re animal lovers, and we go retrieve them, but yet they die on us,” said Teresa Shelton.
On Wednesday, the couple found a stray puppy, severely dehydrated.
“We brought her back, we gave her food, and tried to give her food. She wouldn’t eat.”
The dog later died in the front yard.
Since Wednesday, they’ve found another puppy of the same breed, in the same location. That puppy is in better shape, so she’s become the newest member of their family.
Harold and Teresa Shelton constantly find deer carcasses, headless goats, dogs, and rats carelessly tossed there as if the tall grass were a landfill.
The Sheltons have called Animal Control, Memphis police, and the city of Memphis for help. But the city has told them and News Channel 3 that the grassy property belongs to CSX Railroad.
CSX Railroad was not available for comment on Friday.
Still, a city spokesperson said the public works department will help clear the area up to the tree line.
Harold Shelton said, “Most of them have been dead. We’ve found a few like this one here, when I found alive, I just – I’m fed up with it.”
He said sometimes he even takes them to overnight emergency clinics that cost him $200 or $300, only to have them die soon after.
He said by the looks of some of the dogs, they may have been used in dog-fighting rings.
The Sheltons sometimes see people pull up in their trucks to dump animals in that area at night.
“They open up their doors and they get in the back of their trucks, and they’re throwing. Steadily throwing,” said Teresa Shelton.
The Sheltons yell at them, but it’s hard to see who it is or their tag numbers.
The couple is heartbroken at each suffering animal and also frustrated with the lack of help in solving the problem. They are even considering installing a camera to catch the culprits.
“We will take care of these animals. Please don’t drop them off and throw them over there in a ditch,” Teresa Shelton said.
Until the situation improves, she said she is accustomed to crying over dead puppies. But they won’t give up trying to nurse them back to health.