Maggie Society halts house demolition to save puppies

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As an excavator tore through a house Thursday, the whines of puppies mingled with the sound of cracking wood and shattering glass. After much debate, work stopped for the night and rescuers were able to save three small puppies.

“Per the neighbor, the mama dog had the puppies a couple weeks ago and she brought them all over here in her mouth, one-by-one, and put them under this house,” said Brody Heath, who called rescue groups to help save the dogs Thursday. “I fed her yesterday and gave the neighbor my number and she called me today to say I had to come because they are tearing this house down.”

Volunteers with The Maggie Society swarmed the scene, trying to convince owner Carlos Lewis to stop the demolition long enough to rescue the dogs.

City of Wilson inspections manager Kevin O’Brien responded to the scene and when Lewis was asked for his permit, he could not produce it. Officials said a demolition permit was obtained in 2014 and was valid for six months, but it is unclear whether a current permit is in place. City staff will research the matter today.

Once demolition stopped for the night, volunteers used hammers and other tools to save three small dogs. Wilson firefighters also used infrared thermal imaging cameras to scan for other dogs, but no more were found alive.

“We get a lot of calls from homeowners that are getting ready to demo a property and they’ll ask if we can get some mom and pups out from under first,” said Maggie Society founder Laurie Robl Brumfield. “We have a great crew that will go in and get them safely. We’ve done that numerous times, but this guy wasn’t giving anyone any time to work safely, so we just flooded the scene with our volunteers and lots of other good people from the community through a Facebook plea.”

Rescuers were not able to trap the adult dogs. It is unclear if they are strays or owned by someone on the block.

The Maggie Society plans to care for the dogs before putting them up for adoption. Brumfield said one of the dogs will be named “Brody” as a way to appreciate Heath’s commitment to saving the puppies.