Homeowner claims elementary school students damaged property and - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Homeowner claims elementary school students damaged property and stole her dog

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
(Source: Constance Clendenen) (Source: Constance Clendenen)

Constance Clendenen moved into her new home in August and she's regretted it ever since.

Shortly after she unpacked her bags, she said students from Brook Avenue Elementary School started causing problems for her family. 

"This should be my last worry," Clendenen said. "I have a special needs child who has seizures and the more time I'm out here having to deal with these children, the less time I get to focus on my daughter."

Her backyard backs up to the intersection of Garland and School Street, where students walk home from school each day between 3:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. 

She said at least once a week, a group of seven to 10 students stop to throw rocks at her car, harass her dogs and steal her 5-year-old daughter's toys. 

"They stole a wagon," Clendenen said. "I watched them steal a football and I was like, 'well there's $10 for the community.'" 

After the first incident, Clendenen set up cameras to monitor any unwanted activity in her backyard. 

Her latest attempt to keep students off her property is a privacy fence, but with her family living off of one income, it's been a slow process to get the money together to do it.

"I've told them to leave the property alone. I've told them to stop messing with the dogs," Clendenen said. "They were throwing rocks constantly one day and I told them the next time they throw a rock I'm calling Waco PD because they're on camera."

She reached out to Central Texas News Now on Friday after her cameras captured students hanging around her dogs' kennel. When Clendenen got home a few hours later, her dog, Snuffa, was gone.

"She was tethered inside the kennel as well," Clendenen said. "So for her to get out, they had to unhook her from that and the gate would have to be opened."

Clendenen said she also found a pink slip with a child's name on it inside the kennel. 

For days, Clendenen frantically searched the neighborhood for her beloved pet.

She posted on the Central Texas Lost & Found Pets Facebook page hoping to spread the word about Snuffa. Five days later, a woman posted on the same page saying she found her Snuffa about 10 blocks over. 

"Anybody who has a fur baby doesn't always get this lucky," Clendenen said. "I don't think that this should be swept under the rug like it's been happening."

Clendenen has called Waco police multiple times over the last few months. She also filed a police report after her dog went missing.

She then reached out to Brook Avenue Elementary, asking for the principal to take action.

Kyle DeBeer is the Assistant Superintendent for Communications with Waco ISD. He provided the following statement on the matter.

"We're happy to hear that Ms. Clendenen has been reunited with Snuffa. Our principal met with Ms. Clendenen earlier this week and investigated this but was unable to determine what happened based on the information provided. Being a good neighbor is important to us. It's a value that we seek to cultivate in our students, and that's why we talk with them about what it means to be a good neighbor."

Richard Hall has lived in Clendenen's neighborhood for 53 years. He's just a few houses down from her and said he's never had an issue with students.

"I haven't," Hall said. "But my next door neighbor had problems. They threw stuff in the yard, I would say that was two years ago though."

Clendenen said blocking off her property and covering her daughter's toys with a tarp is the best she can do at this point, but she would prefer mutual respect. 

"I'm pretty sure that their parents don't know what's going on and if they knew they'd be having words with their kids," Clendenen said. "We've done everything we can think of possible. It's extremely frustrating because I have a lot left of my mortgage to finish paying before I can even think about moving."

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