REISTERSTOWN, Md. — 27 dog tags billowed in the morning breeze. 27 empty collars formed a heart at the base of the memorial for the Black Rock Dogs. Named after the address of their pain and suffering, the 27 dogs finally have a peaceful forever home in the Baltimore Humane Society Memorial Park.
"We will give them the peace in death that we were unable to find for them in life," said park director Veronica Van Hof.
The 27 dogs were found dead at a Hampstead home in April.
"It just just kills you. If you're an animal lover or if you have anything, you understand. It just tears at your soul," said Gayle Killebrew.
Of the 27 other dogs that were found alive, one of them was among the crowd at the funeral Thursday. 1-year-old Chloe and her foster mom Cynthia Ambs traveled from Virginia to be at the memorial.
"She was covered in feces and urine and scabs. Her tail was bloodied and her head was bloodied," said Ambs of Chloe's state when she was rescued.
As Chloe recovers, they won't forget the ones that didn't get that chance.
"For me, it’s closure. I was really emotionally involved in this because I’m a Dalmatian rescuer, and I have been for forever, and so for me, I needed to come here just for her to say goodbye to her brothers and sisters. We believe that she was born in those conditions and that she actually gave birth in those conditions ... so somewhere among that mix, there are some puppies that didn't make it as well," said Ambs.
"27 dogs. 27 lives. 27 hopeful, trusting, eager, anonymous souls, broken by hunger and neglect, but today they have names. We will name them because we could not save them," said Van Hof.
After 27 flowers were laid on the memorial, one of the Carroll County Animal Control officers who responded and first found the dogs laid the memorial stone.
Advocates said remembering them is not all we can do. They are encouraging others to stand up for the voiceless.
"If you hear a dog next door but you never see them. If you see the dog next door, she’s always crying; she’s cold; she’s alone ... say something," said Van Hof.
They also want to see the two people arrested in this case punished with the full extent of the law. Prosecutors have charged John Roberts and Laura Filler with more than 100 counts of animal cruelty in this case.
"We’re all afraid if they don’t get a hard jail sentence, they are gonna move on and do this in another state," said Killebrew.
Carroll County State's Attorney's Office said the dates for their trials will be set at hearings in July.
The memorial will be up for the foreseeable future and anyone can come and visit it here at the Baltimore Humane Society in Reisterstown during normal shelter hours.