By BERNARD CHOI / KING 5 News
TACOMA, Wash. – Pierce County authorities are looking to charge a cancer patient's caregivers after the man was left alone in his house for days and mauled by hungry puppies.
One of those caregivers is the patient's own daughter.
The 55-year-old man from Parkland is in critical condition and being kept alive by machines.
"We don't believe the puppies attacked him but the puppies were using him as a food source due to the fact that they just didn't know any better and he was on the ground incapacitated for a couple of days," said Det. Ed Troyer, Pierce Co. Sheriff's Office.
It's a gruesome end to what may have been days of neglect. Detectives say two women lived in the home with some 20 dogs and were unofficial caregivers of the cancer patient. At some point the women abandoned the man and the dogs.
"He's incapacitated and needs full time care and should have had full time care, and some of the medicines and treatments were not getting to him," said Troyer.
Neighbors say they've had problems with some of the older dogs before, but they didn't know the cancer patient was being neglected inside.
The fact that one of the caregivers was the man's own daughter is even more shocking.
"I didn't get along with my dad real well. I could never imagine treating him like that in his last days," said neighbor Gary Anderson.
"That just blew me away. I couldn't believe it. That was going on right next to me," said neighbor Mark Williams.
The two women were booked into the Pierce County Jail on investigation of criminal mistreatment, but detectives are looking into more serious felony charges.
The roughly 20 dogs that were seized from the home are at the Pierce County Humane Society. There is no decision yet on what will happen to them.