National News

Gwinnett deputy saves dog's life while serving evictions

Posted June 14, 2017 12:58 p.m. EDT

— Deputy Kyle Knortz is prepared to meet hostile people when he's serving eviction notices in Gwinnett County, so when he entered a home in Lilburn, he was surprised by the warm welcome he got.

A little puppy was very glad to see him. It was trapped in a home on Hickory Ridge Road without anyone to take care of him.

"It's just one of those things there's no reason for. You get an animal, it's almost like a kid. You would leave your kid in a building locked up. They're part of the family," said Knortz.

The family who lived in the house took off in a hurry, leaving behind furniture, a TV set, clothes, children's toys, and even a pink bicycle. But what they didn't leave behind was food or water for the dog.

The puppy kept himself alive by eating trash, and even clothes. Debra Betolatti is a friend of the landlord who was there to witness the deputy's surprising discovery.

"I would think if you had any self-decency, or decency for the animal, you would have at least left a pet bowl with water or food," said Betolatti.

She and her husband looked through the house afterward and discovered a water heater was dripping. They suspect it was because of that, the dog found enough moisture to go on living.

It continued that way for at least a week. Had the deputy not arrived when he did, there's no telling what would have happened.

Even though his family already has three dogs, Deputy Knortz decided on the spot that he was going to adopt the little survivor.

Knortz's wife, Tori, recalls learning about the new addition to the family.

"The day he found it on the eviction, I got a text saying we might be getting another dog. And I was like, okay??? But then an hour later, I got pictures of the doggie, and I was like, aww, okay."

Deputy Knortz said, "I don't understand why anyone would want to leave a dog in a building. That's animal neglect, animal cruelty charges easily."

CBS46 stopped by Gwinnett County Animal Welfare to get the name of the person who left the dog behind, and the charges they're facing. But the routine request quickly became complicated.

Shelter employees referred us to a county spokesperson, who was not on site. When we reached that person by phone, we learned there's no plan to charge anyone with a crime.

According to the spokesperson, because the dog was rescued before dying and before falling into extremely poor health, it never occurred to anyone at the Animal Welfare department to file charges.

Debra Betolatti was shocked to hear the explanation.

"That's telling people it's okay to treat an animal like that, and it's truly animal cruelty in my opinion."

The good news is, the puppy's now in a happy home, with a family who loves him, and other dogs to play with.