City condemns dog hoarder house

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 19, 2014 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

WAYNESBORO — City officials and veterinary staff are dealing with the aftermath of another large pet hoarding case in Waynesboro.

It’s the third large hoarding case in Waynesboro in the past year, officials said.

Twenty dogs, three birds and a cat were living and defecating inside of a ranch-style home in the 1300 block of Red Top Orchard Road, officials said. It doesn’t appear that the dogs were ever consistently let outside.

Their owners, a married couple, were living with them in the filth, possibly with rats, too, until a tip led the animal control officer to investigate. Due to the work load for the city animal control office, the sole officer wasn’t able to look into it until now — despite the tip coming in January.

“The wife considered these animals her babies,” Sgt. Brian Edwards said. No charges are pending at this time against the woman and man, ages 67 and 63. “With a hoarder, they have a love for these animals, but they get overwhelmed taking care of them.”

The house has been condemned by the city, and the occupants evicted for their own safety, said Patty Armstrong, with the city building department. Social service workers are helping them.

The pets were removed Wednesday by a team that included the lone Waynesboro animal officer, two Staunton animal officers, police, rescue staff and building and zoning personnel. The dogs were mostly dachshunds and chihuahuas.

It took hours.

“They were just overcome with the smell of urine and feces when they opened the door,” Edwards said.

Dog bites officer

During removal of the pets, a dog bit the animal officer. She will be working on the case for days, police said, and other officers will be handling animal cases for the time being.

“It was a very emotional scene,” Edwards said.

Police reports suggest that the woman, upset about the removal of the pets, is a retired nurse.

The dogs were in rough shape, most with long, overgrown nails. Some had tumors and one appeared to have a leg that had previously broken and healed without being re-set.

The 20 dogs and the cat were taken by Woodworth Animal Hospital, and will be evaluated and treated, as possible. The pets will then likely be transferred to the Shenandoah Valley Animal Service Center, police said.

Armstrong said the family has 30 days to clean and fix the house to remove the condemnation of the property or make arrangements for a schedule. No one can live there at this time.

Animals’ condition

The rescued animals are stable and “pretty much bright-eyed,” said Diana Hagenlocker, co-owner of the Woodworth veterinary practice. “I think that’s very positive, and we’ve had various rescue groups reach out … and want to get them adopted into new homes. … People just want to do the right thing and step up and help.”

At least one dog has been adopted, the vet clinic said. None have been put down yet.

Anyone interested in adopting a pet will need to contact the SVASC at 943-5142.

One of the dogs has been adopted by a Woodworth employee’s family, and Augusta Dog Adoptions already took a second dog, the center said.

Article source: http://www.newsleader.com/article/20140508/NEWS01/305080015/City-condemns-house-where-pets-hoarded

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