Humane Society of Ohio rescues 80 dogs, community rallies to cheer them on

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Lori Carlson arrived to work at the Lick County Human Society one morning to an alarming phone call from a police officer in Newark, Ohio, animal control division.

A probation officer visited a condemned home on the morning of July 22 looking for someone who had violated probation, and the officer discovered dozens of small dogs – all Chihuahuas and Shih Tzu — living in misery with three people. They appeared to be hoarders, the officer told him.

All of the dogs were infested with fleas and many appeared to have serious skin infections, he told Carlson. None had been spayed or spayed, and several litters of puppies were found covered in feces, urine and waste.

Carlson, the shelter’s executive director, said the officer told him the animals needed to be rescued immediately.

“I sent in my three agents from the Humane Society, and we quickly realized that was not enough,” she said.

“At first we were told there were about 30 dogs,” Carlson said. “But that number went up to 50. And then after that we found out there were actually 80.”

“Our officers had to crawl through the debris to find all the puppies and put them with the right mother,” she added.

The smell inside the house was unbearable, Carlson said, noting that it took his employees and animal control officers five hours and several trips to get the dogs transferred to the Humane Society shelter. .

The dogs ranged in age from 1 week to 12 years old, she said.

“The people in the house had no idea how many dogs were there – they had been breeding and multiplying for a long time,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of rescues over the years, but never one like this.”

It was the largest rescue in the shelter’s history, Carlson said.

After the dogs are washed and treated by a veterinarian, Humane Society staff face a new dilemma: where to put them all?

“We’re not a large shelter — our typical capacity is 40 dogs and 60 cats,” Carlson said. “Fortunately, we had just built a new medical and isolation center, so we could put kennels there.”

One roommate is 85, the other 27. Such arrangements are on the rise.

It didn’t help that a week earlier the shelter rescued 52 cats from two pet storage situations, she added.

“Now with this big rescue dog, I knew we were going to need the help of the community,” she said.

Carlson contacted the local newspaper, the Newark Lawyerto let it be known that donations were needed for the dogs’ medical care – including neutering, neutering, dental care and microchipping – before they could be put up for adoption.

She also posted a wish list of supplies, including dog food, bleach, digital thermometers, garbage bags and puppy training mats.

Then she called several of the shelter’s regular volunteers and asked them to take care of the five nursing dogs who had puppies.

She said the audience response was overwhelming.

A worker stopped by to help find a missing girl. He found her waist-deep in a stream.

“Wishlist items on the way!!! Thank you for all you do,” one person commented on Facebook.

“Thank you for the rescue – pray they all find loving homes. Would love to take them all,” another wrote.

Kris Mitchell, a volunteer foster family from Newark, offered to foster Mimi, a Chihuahua mix, and her four puppies. Mimi had been found with a piece of PVC pipe around her neck.

“They’re fine, but the mom dog is pretty exhausted, as you can imagine,” Mitchell, 55, said. “She’s very sweet and quite gentle, and her coat is still a bit patchy from the flea infestation.”

“I am happy to provide Mimi and her puppies with a calm, quiet place to recover until they are all ready to find loving homes,” Mitchell added.

Bethany Stickradt of Newark offered to foster a Chihuahua named Lucy and her litter of four week-old puppies.

“I already have three dogs, so I can’t keep any of them, but we will work to socialize them and put them in good homes,” said Stickradt, 33, who placed them in teacups for a photo to show how tiny they are — and also because it’s adorable.

She said Lucy is extremely protective of her newborn babies, but now allows her to pick them up, pet them and weigh them.

She just got accepted to medical school. She is 13 years old.

“It’s inconceivable to me that anyone has that many dogs in their house,” Stickradt said. “It certainly didn’t happen overnight. I keep asking myself, ‘How can we prevent such things from happening again?’ »

Animal hoarding is a growing problem, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, with up to 250,000 pets suffering from hoarding abuse such as malnutrition and untreated medical conditions each year. Hoarders “keep an abnormally high number of animals for which they do not provide even the most basic care,” according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund website.

In many cases, people who collect animals suffer from mental illnessCarlson said.

“It’s really sad, but it’s also hard not to feel angry,” she said. “Something like this is so avoidable and so unnecessary. These dogs lived in horrible, unsanitary conditions with very little, if any, care.

The dogs didn’t have names, Carlson said, so his staff named them all.

“The people [in the house] were trying to make up names as we brought each dog to the door,” she said.

When the medical evaluations are complete for the dogs, Carlson said, she will send the information to the Licking County Legal Directorwho would be responsible for filing any criminal charges in the case.

“I will recommend charges of violation Pet Laws in Ohio, with a sentence of up to six months per charge,” she said. “We would like a charge for each animal, so it’s 80 counts.”

A few of the dogs have already been put up for adoption, Carlson said, and she looks forward to finding happy homes for the others.

“They deserve to have families who will treat them with love and kindness,” she said. “As everyone walked through our door, I would gently tell them, ‘Your life just got better.'”

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