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Ohio Humane Society Rescues 80 Dogs, Community Comes Together to Care For Them

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Lori Carlson arrived at work at the Licking County Humane Society one morning and received an alarming phone call from a police officer with the Newark, Ohio division of animal control.

A probation officer visited a condemned home on the morning of July 22 looking for someone who had violated probation and discovered dozens of small dogs, all Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus, living in misery with three people. They seemed 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 neutered, and multiple litters of puppies were found covered in feces, urine and garbage.

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

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

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

“Our agents had to crawl through the rubble to find all the pups and get them to the right mother,” he added.

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

The dogs were between 1 week and 12 years old, he said.

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

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

Once the dogs had been bathed and treated by a veterinarian, Humane Society staff faced a new dilemma: Where to put them all?

“We are not a large shelter, our typical capacity is 40 dogs and 60 cats,” Carlson said. “Fortunately, we had just built a new isolation and medical center, so we were able to put some kennels there.”

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

It didn’t help that just a week earlier, the shelter had rescued 52 cats from two animal hoarding situations, she added.

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

Carlson contacted the local newspaper, the Newark Advocate, to spread the word that donations were needed for the dogs’ medical care, including spaying, neutering, dental work and microchipping, before they could. be given up for adoption.

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

She then called several of the shelter’s regular volunteers and asked them to take in the five nursing dogs that had puppies.

She said the response from the public was overwhelming.

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

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

“Thank you for the rescue, please pray that they all find loving homes. I would love to take them all,” wrote another.

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

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

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

Bethany Stickradt of Newark offered to foster a Chihuahua named Lucy and her litter of four 1-week-old puppies.

“I already have three dogs, so I can’t keep any of these, but we will work to socialize them and place 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 is adorable.

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

She has just been accepted into medical school. she is 13

“It is inconceivable to me that someone would have so many dogs in their home,” Stickradt said. “It certainly didn’t happen overnight. I keep asking myself, ‘How can we prevent things like this from happening again?’ ”

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

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

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

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

“People [in the house] we were trying to come up with names as we brought each dog to the door,” he said.

When the dogs’ medical evaluations are complete, Carlson said, he will forward the information to Licking County’s legal director, who will be responsible for pursuing criminal charges in the case.

“I will recommend charges for violating Ohio’s pet laws, with a penalty of up to six months per charge,” he said. “We would like one charge for each animal, so that’s 80 charges.”

Some of the dogs have already been put up for adoption, Carlson said, and he hopes to find happy homes for the others.

“They deserve to have families that treat them with love and kindness,” he said. “As each one walked through our door, he gently told them, ‘Your life just got better.’ ”

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