Neighbors caring for abandoned dogs after woman allegedly dumps them

The small southwest Iowa town of Coin is raising questions after a woman was seen on home security cameras dumping dogs from a car.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 7:38 PM CDT
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COIN, Iowa (WOWT) - Under the cover of midnight darkness, a PT Cruiser cruises the town of Coin, Iowa; home security video shows dogs dumped off as if their lives aren’t worth a plug nickel.

“They just dumped them, they threw them out like trash and they’re not trash,” said rescuer Deb Coulter. “They’re beautiful. How could you do that?”

Deb’s husband Kirby spotted two of the dogs in their backyard.

“They were just huddled together, and one was just laying on top of the other and the other one was just shivering,” he said.

City Clerk Amie Johnson got calls from all over town about abandoned dogs.

“We’ve confirmed 12 in hand,” she said. “We know there’s one more (that’s) loose, and there could be more. There’s a bunch of abandoned houses in town, so they could be hiding there or might not have made it.”

Dogs like these would be easy prey for foxes and coyotes.

“There were some in the park, there were some in a bucket next to somebody’s garage,” Deb said. “They had crawled in there to warm up.”

Jax Johnson says one dog spotted under the family car led to the rescue of another, and his mom is caring for two abandoned dogs.

“We’ve found very good homes for both of them,” she said.

The small dogs abandoned as a PT Cruiser drives away -- and a recognizable car that led to tips -- and 6 On Your Side to a Shenandoah home.

“What they were putting on the Internet was mostly lies,” Debbie Lewis told 6 On Your Side. “I’m having a bunch of health issues, and I can’t take care of them properly, and I thought (in) a small town they could find good homes.”

The Page County Attorney says the sheriff filed 12 misdemeanor criminal complaints against Lewis for abandoning dogs without injury.

“Yes, my thought process was wrong, but that’s not what I intended to do,” Lewis said in a phone interview. “It was not to hurt them.”

Meanwhile, residents of Coin have shown big hearts by caring for the abandoned dogs.

The dumped puppies obviously aren’t potty trained -- so about five times a day, Deb and her husband are putting doggie diapers on them.

And the community is providing supplies that show the abandoned dogs are valued.

Lewis claims she abandoned only eight dogs, and just in Coin, not any other town. She admits to having several dogs that are chihuahua-terrier mixes still at home. As to how many, she won’t say -- but she tells 6 On Your Side she wants to adopt them out.