Discovery of dead dogs inside woman's home leads to removal of nearly 3 dozen animals

Posted at 4:04 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 22:41:20-04

DENVER – Urine stains, feces encrusted on furniture and the sight of 12 dog cadavers kept inside a chest type freezer led to a Denver woman’s arrest and the removal of nearly three dozen animals from her home last month, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Denver7.

The investigation into this gruesome case of animal abuse started after someone called the city’s information line to report an address and check on the welfare of at least 15 dogs the person believed were kept in poor conditions.

GALLERY: Check out the bulldogs being put up for adoption this Saturday

The address led a Denver Police Officer to the home of Marleen Elizabeth Puzak, 58, on July 6. Upon arrival, the officer noticed the stench of both urine and feces about eight feet from the home, which had been previously reported on to police by neighbors, according to the arrest affidavit.

A day later, on July 7, the officer working the case got a hold of one of Puzak’s friends, who told the officer she had met with Puzak several days prior at a dog park and noticed that one of Puzak’s puppies had red, swollen paws, bright-red testicles and gave off a smell of urine and feces. The woman’s friend also reported that smell was on Puzak’s person, other dogs and her vehicle.

At around 5:30 p.m. that day, the investigating officer met with Puzak and obtained a search warrant to search her home. The affidavit states the officer needed to don personal protective gear before completing the search, due to “extremely unsanitary conditions inside the house.”

A total of 35 French bulldogs were found living inside the house, some able to roam free, and others contained inside crates that were at times encrusted with feces on the surface. Urine stains were also found throughout the house, according to the arrest affidavit.

As he continued to search Puzak’s home, the officer found “the cadavers of seven dogs in one chest type freezer and five additional cadavers in a second chest type freezer,” the affidavit states.

The dogs were removed from the home and were taken to the Denver Animal Shelter.

“Many of the animals were in dire need of proper medical care, and shelter staff members have worked very hard to heal these animals inside and out,” a spokesperson said on Facebook on Tuesday.

The French bulldogs are expected to be given up for adoption on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter is located at 1241 West Bayaud Avenue. The cost of adoption is $400 and includes the shelter's standard adoption free plus specialty medical care the bulldogs received during their stay, including: 

  • Soft palate resection and nares resection to allow them to breathe more easily.
  • Dental procedures to remove rotten and painful teeth.
  • Giardia and deworming treatment.
  • Medicine for severe ear and skin infections.
  • Surgery to relieve infected eyes.
  • Bite wound treatment.

Puzak was arrested on July 31 and was charged with 34 counts of cruelty to animals and 12 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, court records obtained by Denver7 show. 

Check out the puppies being put for adoption by tapping the image below or by clicking here to access the gallery