A 2-and-a-half -year-old pit bull named Carly owes her life to Detective Jennifer Kraus. Last September, a neighbor in White Bear Lake called police about a sickly looking dog that had just escaped from the basement of a house believed to be vacant for months.
"I was supposed to be going home. I'm off duty, and I said, 'I will go there,'" said Kraus. "The stench -- you could it smell from the sidewalk as I got out of my car."
Inside, the dog's feces and urine were everywhere, and water to the house was shut off. In addition to the underweight American Bull Dog that escaped, Kraus found three pit bull puppies crammed into a cage, a Chihuahua and two adult pits wandering the basement. All six dogs were dangerously thin.
"They were going to euthanize the two bullies because they were in such bad condition," recalled Kraus. "They did end up euthanizing one other female, and they were gong to euthanize Carly."
Instead, Kraus took Carly home along with the American bull dog she named Tugg. She also helped the other dogs find rescue homes.
"These dogs are really lucky that this was the officer that responded that day," says White Bear Lake City Prosecutor Robb Olson.
The dog's owner, Terrell Collins Jr., told investigators his brother was supposed to care for the dogs. The case was ready to go to trial until Monday when Collins pleaded guilty to mistreating the animals. FOX 9 went to Collin's home in St. Paul for comment but he is yet to call.
Collins father told FOX 9 News his son lost his job and could not afford to care for the dogs.
"I didn't know what to do with them. So, I figured, 'I guess I have to take them home,'" said Kraus. "My husband had said, 'No more foster dogs for awhile --and no more pit bulls because they chase the cats.' I said, 'Of course,' and then I pull up with two bullies. I said, 'Don't even ask me, just don't ask' -- and he didn't."
Kraus fed the dogs, let them sleep and later helped train and socialize them with other pets and families. At four months, Tugg had a new home. Now, nearly a year later, Carly has been adopted.
"She's just so sweet, and I think that's because of where she came from," said Beth Laver, Carly's new owner. "Now, she's just like, 'Somebody love me!'"
Instead of having claws so long that it hurts to walk, Carly has manicured paws complete with polish.
Kraus has fostered dozens of dogs and said she is proud to make their lives possible.
"A lot of people ask me, 'How can you do it? Doesn't it break your heart?'" she said. "I say no because you are getting a dog who was otherwise unwanted or abandoned. I just thought it was the right thing to do."