Michael and Tammy Bell

Victims of Michael and Tammy Bell
Crime: Animal Abuse

This story has a happy ending. So many animal abuse stories involve the torture and death of animals and they make me cry. The story of Michael and Tammy Bell came very near to that kind of ending, and it was no thanks to that pair of hellbeasts that it didn’t.

Michael and Tammy Bell of Ontario, were supporting six children on social assistance. That’s right, six children. And still they reckoned they had room for more. They were living, or should I say subsisting, in Niagara Falls when they decided to welcome two dogs to their family. And did they get little lap dogs? Nope, they got white shepherd crosses they named Sadie and Chopper.

White shepherd crosses, when healthy, can weigh 60 to 70 pounds. It takes a fair bit of dog food to maintain a big dog like that, and twice as much for two big dogs.

Dog food costs money. That’s what Michael and Tammy Bell discovered. And it was money they weren’t willing or able to spend. Now did the Bells do the sensible, humane thing and find new homes for Sadie and Chopper? Of course not, because these two are hellbeasts of a special sort.

What Michael and Tammy Bell opted to do was stop feeding their pets regularly. Not a good plan at the best of times.

One of their relatives saw that the dogs weren’t being fed enough and began dropping food off with the Bells for Sadie and Chopper. Still the Bells weren’t feeding the dogs enough. Heck, they’d stopped feeding them altogether, unless you call air food.

There is no excuse for that! None! It was clearly a choice the Bells made to deprive the dogs of the basic necessities and watch them waste away. What a great lesson in caring for animals they were teaching their six children!

The caring relative went back to the house to feed the dogs herself. Chopper practically inhaled his food but he was by that time too weak to walk. Sadie could not stand for long periods and would “flop down” onto the ground. They’d been without food for at least a month by then.

And then this lovely family abruptly moved to St. Catharines on September 22, 2007. They did not take the dogs with them. Sadie and Chopper had been abandoned for three days inside the Niagara Falls home with no food and no water. That’s right, no food and no water, locked inside the house so nobody could rescue them.

On September 25, 2007, hellbeast Michael Bell returned to retrieve their pets. I’m sure he was surprised they were still alive. Michael and Tammy didn’t want them any more so he literally tossed them into his vehicle (they couldn’t walk) and took them to the Lincoln County Humane Society. There he posed as a Good Samaritan and told them he found these poor starving doggies abandoned in St. Catharines.

The workers at the Lincoln County Humane Society were aghast at the condition of these two lovely shepherds. Each dog weighed just over 30 pounds — half the weight they should have been. The vets had to hook them up to IV’s right away.

Chopper, the poor boy, was dehydrated of course, and was unable to stand. He had urine burns on his stomach. He had sores on his elbows and his shoulders had almost dislocated because he lacked the muscle and soft tissue to keep them in place.

Chopper could not even hold his head up to drink water. The shelter staff had to lift his head so he wouldn’t drown.

Sadie’s condition was not much better. Both dogs were diagnosed with hookworms and had to be treated for the parasite.

The staff named this pair of “strays” Lady and Tramp and set about getting them better and finding the perpetrators of the horrible abuse.

Donations began pouring in to help pay for the poor animals’ vet bills. Offers of adoption also were in abundance. Seems everybody cared more for those dogs that the hellbeasts that owned them.

During the shelter’s investigation, neighbours and relatives of the Bells came forward and exposed the Good Samaritan and his wife for the cruel creatures they really were.

Tammy and Michael Bell were hauled up on charges and pled guilty to two charges each of causing unnecessary suffering to their dogs.

Judge Joseph Nadel, after the guilty pleas, admonished the hateful pair, “You have been publicly shamed, and if you don’t feel guilty, you ought to. You mistreated those dogs.”

I wonder if he was shaking his finger at them when he said that. And the judge wasn’t done yet.

“The example you showed to your children by starving these dogs is not a good thing and morally reprehensible, and it speaks to a failure of both of you. I’ll stop there because I will get riled up and say something I’ll regret.”

I’m liking Judge Nadel more and more. And then he tacked on, “The first thing you do in the morning is FEED YOUR DOGS.” (emphasis mine)

“Hopefully you’re feeding your children,” Judge Nadel added, which makes me wonder — why was this horrid pair allowed to raise six children?

Their sentence: 3 years’ probation including counseling for financial management, job skills and whatever other issues their probation officer could identify.

The Bells were not ordered to pay for the vet bills it cost the shelter to get the dogs healthy again because of their financial situation.

Most importantly, the Bells were banned from owning pets for five years. That’s as far as the law could go — not far enough IMHO. The ban ends next year.

The Humane Society was also given access to the Bell’s home to ensure that there were no pets on the premises.

“I know people are going to hate us, which is unfortunate,” Michael Bell told reporters on the courthouse steps as Tammy Bell wiped away her tears. “I know I’ve done a wrong thing and I apologize.”

Fat lot of good that apology did their former pets.

Michael Bell then whined that his family had fallen on tough times and that prevented him from properly caring for the dogs. Ha!

“If I could change back time, I’d never do it again. I had hard times,” he said.

HE had hard times? At least he didn’t go without food for a month!

Michael Bell even boasted that telling the shelter the dogs were strays was the ONLY LIE he had ever told. *snort, choke*

Sadie and Chopper, aka Lady and Tramp, gained weight quickly and were both adopted by perfectly nice people.

Hopefully come 2012 the Bell beasts will continue to have a pet-free home. Forever. I know I wouldn’t even trust them with a pet rock!

Lincoln County Humane Society article
St Catharines Standard article

9 Responses to Michael and Tammy Bell

  1. Kimber says:

    Don’t you wish that if people didn’t want their children, that there was a place you could drive to and just leave them there, like the ASPCA? A place that you could safely abandon them with no punishment? Just drive up and drag the kids out of the car and into the office, where you could safely give them up for good in some ten minute process?

    Think of how many kids would be saved.

    Thank God for the Humane Society. Now all we need is a Human Society to save abused and unwanted children. Where all you do is drive over and leave them permanently with people who will care for them.

    • Shannon says:

      There are safe haven laws in all 50 states in the US. Pertaining mostly to newborns, you can anonymously leave your infant in certain designated places. The age of the child varies from 3 days, to 90 days (depending on the state).
      Won’t save every child, but might help save some.
      And there were laws protecting animals before there were laws protecting children!

      • Kimber says:

        I realize there are safe haven laws, but unfortunately they apply to infants only. We need somewhere you can dump the three year old that’s driving you crazy that you don’t want anymore. Or the five year old. Or even better, the thirteen year old, although I realize that if you could reasonably dump your teenager without legal consequences, we would have to build camps to put them all in.

  2. Trace says:

    Now why the hell didn’t they surrender the dogs before they nearly died? Could be they’re either stupid or cruel but I think they’re both. Wish the dogs had feasted on them!

  3. Minx says:

    If this is how they treat their animals, God help the children! They should be banned for life with regards to owning pets of any kind!

  4. dogwalker says:

    These creeps make me mad as hell! They shouldn’t even be allowed to keep their kids let alone dogs! I’d like to see them locked up with no food or water, but let them see everyone else eat and drink. Dipshits!

  5. Steve says:

    its pretty clear these are not very bright people. “I had hard times.” no, you’re just a bunch of idiots. not smart enough to ask for real help(not just government aid, REAL help) or perhaps they had just exhausted everybody’s goodwill? Selfish people who don’t know when to say ‘when’ in terms of responsibility or NOT taking responsibility often do exactly that. They ‘want’ the have dogs but they don’t have the resources to take care of them or the brains to figure out how to care for them when they don’t otherwise have the $$. Here in SF there are a number of agencies that work with families that have animals. They will provide food and litter and generally help those who are obviously good owners but actually going through ‘hard times’. When I went through ‘hard times’ and didn’t have enough for buy cat food, I asked friends for loans, sold things and went without eating myself on quite a few occasions-so that my cats NEVER went hungry. We have choices to make-our pets do not. If you are not willing or able to do what it takes at least have the heart(and balls) to take your animal(s) to a shelter-preferably no kill-and let them find a home with someone who can. and unlike these tools, don’t wait until they can’t even walk anymore.

  6. Navyperfume says:

    I live right next door to the Bells and I certainly can confirm that they own a huge dog for the last 2 years that is rarely seen.

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