Animal Cruelty Charge Filed in the Jolene Case

jolene kcpp animal services

Frozen, emaciated dog rescued and saved by KC Pet Project Animal Services and Veterinary Teams Adopted by New Family

Kansas City, MO – Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office has filed one count of animal cruelty against Onica Morgan of Raytown, MO regarding the case of Jolene, a dog who was discovered by KC Pet Project’s Animal Services Cruelty Investigations team inside a wire crate, frozen, and unresponsive. The state-level charge of animal abuse (578.012) was filed stating “the defendant had custody of the dog and knowingly failed to provide adequate shelter and care to the dog, which resulted in substantial harm to the dog.”

KC Pet Project’s Animal Services Division has been working collaboratively with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office on this case seeking to hold the animal owner accountable with charges at the highest level.

“Our Animal Services Division and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office are to be commended for their investigative work on this case,” said Tori Fugate, chief communications officer at KC Pet Project. “This is a historic moment for our team and for our community to see state-level counts of animal cruelty being charged against the perpetrator for everything that Jolene went through. Her survival and her healing journey are a true testament to the resiliency that we see with so many animals. We’re grateful to the community for their support of Jolene on her journey.”

Jolene’s Story

On February 16th, Animal Services Dispatch received a call reporting an abandoned dog at an address on Wayne Ave. KC Pet Project’s Animal Services Division responded to the call, and in the garage, they found a wire dog crate against a wall and locked inside was an emaciated, gray and white dog lying its own frozen excrement. The officers rushed the dog to the shelter for treatment.

At KC Pet Project’s vet clinic, the staff began emergency measures to save her life. For hours, doctors and technicians did everything they could to raise her body temperature. By 10:00 PM, vet clinic staff had done all they could do to save her, yet the dog they named Jolene, was still unconscious and cold. They placed Jolene in a warm kennel in their hospital ward overnight, and hoped she would make it through the night.

The morning of February 17th, vet clinic staff arrived to find Jolene not only alive but awake and standing. Although weak and emaciated, she was walking, able to eat, and barking. Jolene had persevered. Jolene spent a week recovering in the shelter’s veterinary hospital, then doctors recommended she should finish recovering in a foster home. The Animal Services officer who responded to the initial call jumped at the chance to take Jolene home as her foster to give her the love and care she so deserved.

Jolene was adopted on March 30th, and her new family reports that she is doing very well in her new home. Jolene’s story had a huge impact on social media with more than 1.5 million views on stories of her healing journey. Donations to KC Pet Project’s Roadrunner Medical Fund go toward the care of pets in need, like Jolene.