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Firefighter charged with abandoning dog
Labrador Retriever found
dead inside crate


by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

A chocolate Labrador retriever mix died inside a crate stowed inside a Northland apartment after her owner, a Kansas City, Mo. firefighter, apparently abandoned the dog following his eviction.

The Platte County Prosecutor's Office charged Blayne Trevor Theunissen, 25, of Kansas City with a class C misdemeanor of animal abandonment.

According to court documents, Kansas City Animal Control Officer Robert Shafford was called to The Crossing at Barry Road concerning an animal abandonment investigation.

Upon his arrival, the officer located a deceased Labrador retriever mix inside a kennel in the bedroom closet. The decomposing, abnormally thin body strongly indicated the animal was neglected. Large maggots and mature larvae were found on the dog, allege court documents. The dog's remains were photographed for evidence and transported to the Kansas City Animal Shelter for a medical examination. The medical examination revealed the dog was “severely emaciated at the time of death” and weighed only 22.6 pounds, according to court documents.

The report also pointed out there was no visible perirenal or omental fat on the dog's body. The dog also suffered severe abrasive wear on all teeth and had a broken canine tooth, possibly from gnawing on the crate.

The assistant manager of the apartment complex told police the apartment had been leased to Blayne Theunissen, who was evicted on June 30.

Police attempted to contact Theunissen at the Kansas City Fire Department, where he is employed. Despite several attempts to reach Theunissen, detectives were unable to question him regarding the investigation.

Court documents say Theunissen was evicted for not paying rent. An eviction notice was posted on his apartment door on June 30. It is unknown how long the dog was inside the crate before passing away, officials say.