“They were in horrific condition (when we got them) … they were screaming and itching and scratching and biting, so it was clear they were in agony.”
FREEPORT — Less than a week after helping to rescue nearly 80 Great Pyrenees dogs from a Washington County hoarding case in Vernon, Alaqua Animal Refuge has taken in 17 dogs from a likely animal cruelty case in neighboring Holmes County.
Laurie Hood, founder of Alaqua, said she got the call late Saturday night from Lucky Puppy, another animal rescue organization, about the property where the 17 dogs had been abandoned at least two weeks ago. The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office was called to investigate and Alaqua has taken in all of the dogs for the time being.
“When (Lucky Puppy and HCSO) got there, they found dogs in horrific physical conditions, and there were puppies locked inside of the house,” Hood said. “So they were able to catch and remove all of (the dogs) and they transported them to Alaqua Animal Refuge Saturday night, and myself and three of our staff stayed late and were able to evaluate, photograph and provide flea medicine, shots, worming and everything that they needed to get through the night.”
Hood said it will be difficult to determine the dogs’ breeds until they are healthier, but most of them appear to be small- to medium-sized dogs, possibly dachshund mixes, as well as a handful of larger dogs. There is one litter of puppies between 2-3 weeks old, while the rest are adults.
Hood said she hopes to gain ownership of the dogs after the HCSO investigation is complete, but for now the staff at Alaqua is working around the clock to care for the dogs and get them stable.
“They were in horrific condition (when we got them),” Hood said. “Most of them were missing most of their hair and had scabs on their skin, so they most definitely had a very contagious type of mange. They were just itching uncontrollably … they were screaming and itching and scratching and biting, so it was clear they were in agony.”
She said many of the dogs also had long toenails, some of which had curled under into the dogs’ skin, as well as distended stomachs full of parasites. They were all starving.
On June 26, Hood led a team of 10 rescue organizations from across the United States to save nearly 80 Great Pyrenees dogs from a breeding case gone awry. A total of 17 dogs found their way to Alaqua.
“We’re always up for helping animals in need, but it seems to be never-ending these days,” she said.
Alaqua is currently waging a capital campaign to raise funds for a new 100-acre facility where they can care for even more sick and abandoned animals. To donate, visit www.alaqua.org.