DECLARATION OF KIMBERLY COXWELL
November 19, 2005


I called Great Dane Adoptions and Rescue around January/February 2001 to notify them of a Great Dane in a shelter.  Sometime around February 2001, I picked up a Great Dane and delivered it to Tracy Ward and met her in person for the first time.  Over the next months, we became friends and I spent a good deal of time at her home.  I told her our family was interested in adopting a Great Dane puppy.  She told me she had a litter born March 12, 2001 and that many of the puppies did not survive.  One she was going to keep (Snowflake, fawnequin female, now deceased), a few healthy ones were adopted, of which one was returned by the original adopter and since Snowflake had died, Tracy kept her as well (Sabrina, fawnequin female, cropped, now deceased from intestinal obstruction).  Another had been so ill that she was worried about adopting him to just anyone, so she would give him to me as long as I had him neutered.  She would not let me see the puppy until I made a commitment to adopt him.  We decided to adopt him and went to pick him up and saw him for the first time in May, 2001.  I hid my shock when she brought him out to me and I took home this skinny puppy.  We named this 10 week old, 10 pound, male fawn puppy, McGyver.  McGyver had so much dried, crusted, wet food on the ends of his ears that when I got it all off, his hair came out with it, and ended up growing back in white.  McGyver was supposed to be a pure bred puppy, but he looks and acts like a Borzoi or Greyhound mix.  We have had many minor health issues with him and he is about 34" tall inches tall and almost 100 pounds.


Our daughter Ryan, and the Ward's daughter, Melody Lane, also became very good friends.  Ryan spent the night at the Ward's home more than 6 times and had many scheduled play dates, too numerous to count.


When Ryan would spend the night at the Ward's home, and had to leave Melody's room, she had to be escorted by Tracy at all times in the hallway, to the front door, to a different room of the house, etc, because of so many dogs in the house it was difficult to get through them.


I have also had dinner once in the Ward's dining room with Tracy, Burt and Melody, and watched television in Burt's production room.


I have observed many different breeds of dogs (including but not limited to, Great Danes and Great Dane puppies, Great Dane mixes and Great Dane mix puppies, Bull, Adronicus, English, and Neopolitan Mastiffs and Mastiff mixes, female, deaf Dalmations and Dalmation mix puppies, Bassethounds, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Newfoundland mix puppies, St. Bernard and St. Bernard puppies, St. Bernard mixes, Great Pyrenees, a Sheltie, Shepherd type guard dogs, Australian Shepherd mix, Pitbull mixes, and Pitbull mix puppies, Poodle mix, Labrador Retriever mixes and Labrador Retriever mix puppies, Pointer mixes and Pointer mix puppies, Rhodisian Ridgeback mix, Hound mixes) in the Ward's home and on the property.  24 (twenty-four) of those dogs were the Ward's personal dogs.


I have observed over 58 dogs in her personal family home, not counting the 10+ Danes in her bedroom and the puppies in the shower stall and bathtub of the main bathroom off the main hallway.  Also not counting all the dogs in the back yards, in the side yards, the barn, the outdoor runs behind the barn, and the guard dogs in a small dog run.


I have personally observed aggressive dogs living in the back part of the property behind the house, in the un-finished house in the back, and in the "barn".


I also observed Melody get bit by a dog and Tracy told Melody that it was her own fault.


Tracy Ward allowed me to help her with the rescue around June 2002.  I was returning calls for information, interviewing, and adoption appointment scheduling.


At the instruction of Tracy Ward, potential adopters had to bring $400.00 in cash to their adoption appointment, unless they knew which dog they were adopting and in that case, the entire amount was to be in cash.


At the instruction of Tracy Ward, potential adopters that were in any way connected to Norco, whether they worked there, lived there, had family there, went to school there, etc, had to have their own private adoption appointment and all dogs brought out for them to see were the same adoption fee: $400.00.  In most cases, at the instruction of Tracy Ward, potential adopters in positions of power and/or influence (including but not limited to, a police officer, animal control officer, school principal, city council member etc) were to have their own private adoption appointment.


If a potential adopter came to their adoption appointment, but failed to adopt a dog, in most cases, I observed them being told by Tracy Ward they could not return again unless they paid a $400.00 non-refundable deposit to use toward their adoption fee when and if they did return.  If they did return, I observed Tracy Ward telling them that they would only be able to see the dogs she had already taken the time to show them at the original appointment, less any dogs that had been adopted between that time.


Of all adoptions I witnessed (over 40) and of all the other adopters I made adoption appointments for, I can only recall one adopter getting a Rabies certificate for their adopted dog.  I specifically asked Tracy Ward why did she not provide Rabies certificates since most of the dogs had already had the Rabies Vaccine, and she told me that she loses most all paperwork and if an adopter could not pay for a $10.00 Rabies shot, they should not be adopting a dog in the first place.


During the time I spent on the Ward's property, I can report that the grounds, dogs, and the family themselves had a distinct, foul, odor.  During the heat of the season, flies were out of control.  Dogs were filthy, many very thin and unhealthy in appearance. Many had toenails so long, it would affect their ability to walk comfortably.  Many dogs had green discharge coming from the eyes and or nose. The house was kept clean the times I saw it, though Tracy had me touch up any photos she sent me so that no one would be able to see the urine puddles and feces all over the floor.


One night, I observed an injured Mantle Great Dane lying very still through a window in the unfinished house behind the main house.  She was wounded in many places all over one side of her body that I could see.  I was concerned that she did not respond to me, and because there was so much blood on the dog.  I immediately asked Tracy Ward about the dog and was told by Tracy Ward that she was in a fight, was fine, and not to worry.  I do not know what happened to that dog.


I have observed Tracy Ward use a plastic bat to discipline a dog.


I have observed Tracy Ward using the cardboard tube from the inside of a paper towel roll, the end of a leash, or her own hand, if the above mentioned items were unavailable, to hit the dogs in the face.  I observed Tracy Ward call it "popping".  Tracy used the cardboard tube when a newly adopted dog was being introduced to the adopter's current dog(s) before they left the adoption appointment to go home with their newly adopted dog.  If either the newly adopted dog or the owner's current dog showed "too much interest" they would get "popped" by Tracy Ward.  I observed Tracy Ward giving these training instructions to adopters to apply to everyday use.


I observed Tracy Ward screaming at the dogs to "cut it" when they made noise.


I observed adopters having to leave their own current dogs in their cars during adoption appointments even in summer heat.


I observed adopter's being instructed to use a bathroom located in the un-finished back house at the back of the Ward's property.  I have walked many adopter's and their children to this bathroom and observed it to be small, dirty, most often without toilet paper, and never with any soap.  If that bathroom was occupied by a dog at the time, I observed adopters being instructed by Tracy Ward to use the bushes or leave the property to use a public restroom in town.

I observed Tracy Ward dispensing a medication called metronidazole, to adopters at the time of adoption.  Medicine was given in plastic baggy (sandwich size) with instructions on how to give it to the dog written on a piece of paper towel.  I observed Tracy Ward instructing the adopter to use it in case of diarrhea as "80% of dogs going to their new home get diarrhea".  I observed Tracy Ward also tell them that if they ended up not needing to use it, do not throw it away as it costs her a lot of money, but to save it when someday they get a hold of something that gives them diarrhea.


The foregoing is honest and true to the best of my ability upon penalty of perjury.




(signature on file)
Kimberly A. Coxwell                          




Permission to Post This Testimony has been Granted by the Author

This comment is from individual person voicing his/her opinion and warning about Gentle Giants, based on what he/she has  personally encountered with Gentle Giants.

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