(CLEVELAND) — Three dogs rescued from alleged Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro are in foster care until the three women police say he held captive decide whether any one of them wants to keep the dogs.
The Chihuahua and two terrier-poodle mixes were found at the Ohio house where Castro allegedly kept Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, in captivity for more than a decade.
Knight’s attorney, Kathryn Joseph, said she appreciates officials’ giving the women time and the opportunity to decide whether they want the dogs.
“I think it’s really nice that they’re hanging on to them because I know they were meaningful, at least to my client,” Joseph said Friday. “I don’t know if she’s interested, so it’s something I have to talk to her about.”
Knight is “doing very well” and has not had or needed facial reconstruction surgery, contrary to some reports, Joseph said.
“They’re all doing pretty well, amazingly well. You’d be shocked,” she said. “They’re happy. They’re optimistic. They’re excited about their futures.”
Another member of the legal team whose firm is working primarily with Berry and DeJesus declined to comment.
John Baird, chief animal control officer for Cleveland, said the dogs are at a foster home, pending a decision by the women.
“We’re going to try to give them as much time as they need,” Baird said.
He said all three dogs have since been sterilized and micro-chipped. Two of them had matted hair and have been groomed. He said they “seem to be great” and did not appear to have been abused or mistreated.
“We think that maybe one of these women, or all of the women, may have bonded with one or more of these dogs and we’d like to make sure they get a chance to get one of them, or whatever dog they bonded with, to maybe make things a little bit easier on them,” Baird said.
All three women have kept a low profile since Berry escaped and the other two women were rescued May 6.
Their attorneys released a letter earlier this week on behalf of their clients, thanking the public for their encouragement, as well as for respecting their requests for privacy.
“The outpouring of public support has been nothing short of remarkable,” the letter said. “To have complete strangers offer loving support in the form of money, goods and services, reaching out to help like a family member, is appreciated in ways that are impossible to put into words. Amanda, Gina and Michelle, who have asked for nothing, are frankly overwhelmed by it all.”
Castro, 52, has been charged with kidnapping and rape. He is being held on an $8 million bond and has yet to enter a plea.
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