Russell owns this pet grooming shop, Puppies Puff and Powder here in Frankfort, but it's how police say she treated her own dog that's got her in legal trouble.
Teka Russell's been in the grooming business for a while.
"I've been grooming dogs for 16 years and I've never had problems," she says.
No problems until now, that is. One of her own dogs has been taken away from her after police say it was malnourished. The pit bull, named Spidey, was taken from Russell after someone notified animal control that the she was emaciated. But Russell says there's a reason she was so skinny.
"She had puppies by accident and her weight went down," she says.
She says the puppies were nursing so much that Spidey couldn't maintain her weight.
"She has constant food and water in her cage. She ate all the time," says Russell.
But officials at the Franklin County Humane Society, where Spidey is now staying, don't buy that explanation.
"She was 33 pounds when we got her and right now she's in her 50s. She's gaining weight daily," says Beth Wallace, a worker at the Humane Society.
After Spidey was taken away, Russell surrendered the puppies so they could stay with their mother and Humane Society workers say that hasn't affected her weight.
"Now that we've had the puppies, we don't see that happening. It's just that she was not fed well. We have pictures of the living environment that she was in and there's no way that she could drink that much water and eat that much food and lose that much weight," says Wallace.
And as for Russell's grooming business?
"I just have to pray that my customers know me well enough to know this is a crock," she says.
Russell is set to be in court on that charge on June 19. Humane Society workers say pit bull owners can have their dogs spayed or neutered for free at their clinic.
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