NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For three years hundreds of people have turned over dogs to a Nashville rescue group with the hope they will find new homes, but it turned out to be a death sentence for the dogs.
Casey Phelps said her rescue group was legit and promised and had given thousands of stray and unwanted dogs a second chance. At least 261 of those animals were euthanized instead.
"She rescues them, finds them a home, adopts them out," said Casey's brother Curly Phelps.
The home of Casey Phelps and her brother Curly was also the home of ‘Southside Bulldoggin,' a rescue group claiming to specialize in pit bulls.
"She'll put an ad in - people will come by to view the dogs, bring their children," said Curly.
It seemed like the perfect fit when animal lover Candi discovered Phelps' rescue.
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"There was a pit bull stray in the neighborhood and we tried to find it a home. She said ‘I'll take him for a $50 donation - just bring him over,'" said Candi.
Candi chose not to hand her dog over to Phelps, but hundreds of others have over the past four years.
"They're going to realize the dog they took to her and gave her $50 for was killed in a shelter," said Candi. "Deceived, tricked, cheated - sad."
According to e-mails and witness accounts a $50 donation helped Phelps find an unwanted pit bull a new home.
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"Some are strays. Some are owner releases," said Billy Biggs with Metro Animal Control.
Officer Biggs said Phelps brought in 261 dogs to Metro Animal Control since 2006.
"The bad thing about a pit bull is once you release them to us it's a death penalty it's our policy not to adopt pit bulls," said Biggs.
The Phelps' insist they are only surrendering animals that can not be adopted.
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"Only the aggressive ones, the ones you can't find homes for," said Curly.
The numbers and the circumstances lead others to believe that 261 dogs never got the new life they were promised.
Police said a fraud case would be extremely difficult to prove, and animal control does not have the power to go after a rescue group simply because it was misleading people.
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In 2006 Casey Phelps was charged with animal cruelty after animals were found living in poor conditions in her home.
Animal control visited the house last week, and found no violations.