‘Hoarded’ dogs taken from Tampa home

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 5, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

TAMPA – They are two separate, but equally brutal, cases of abused animals seized in Hillsborough County.

On Thursday, the animals that lived through the ordeal were found in a sad state, covered in their own feces and not fed properly in months.

Animal services calls this a case of good intentions gone awry. Four-dozen dogs were stacked in carriers inside a home in Thonotosassa. The owner was at work, but came home when she learned Animal Services was taking the dogs away.

“She does not see any error here, she does not see any issue, she does not see any problem,” said Marti Ryan with Hillsborough County Animal Services.

Boxes and pet carriers litter the woman’s front yard.

Inside? Animal services said the place was filthy. An anonymous caller tipped authorities off, saying they were worried for the owner, as well as the dogs.

“We’ve seen many, many hoarding cases in our time,” Ryan said. “The difference is this one was working under the heading of an approved 501C-3 non-profit, so people are unknowingly perhaps donating money, funds, and supplies.”

And never knowing, Ryan said, the animals would then be sent to live inside a small plastic carrier, living in their waste without vet care in a dimly lit double-wide trailer.

The woman’s attorney sent us this statement, saying she’s innocent of animal cruelty.

“If she is guilty of anything, she is guilty of loving and caring too much for the dogs that she rescues before they are killed by the Hillsborough County Animal Services shelter,” the statement read.

“There are too many people working all the time under the right circumstances to do the very best they can, and wherever this person went off the track it needed to end,” Ryan said.

“It’s OK, nobody’s going to hurt you,” said a volunteer to one of the trembling dogs.

Animal Services doesn’t have possession yet because the woman claims she’s been fostering the dogs in her home for other rescue groups.

The rescuers bathed each dog, gave them shots and waved an electronic wand searching for possible microchips to see who the dogs belong to.

“Fleas, you got fleas, yes you do,” said another volunteer to a dog as she held it up for a bath.

There is fur missing in large patches on some of the dogs. They shake from fear, malnutrition and dehydration.

Not far away in Temple Terrace animal services found a dead pet ferret, two more dogs, plus three pet rats. All hadn’t eaten in weeks.

Investigators say they were living in filth in an abandoned apartment. We’re told the woman who lived there will be charged for the massive cleanup. There are feces everywhere. And she’ll be charged to replace doors the dogs chewed through trying to get out.

Both people are expected to be charged with felony animal cruelty. Animal services hopes to have possession soon of all of the dogs and put them up for adoption at their big event called “The Hop” on April 7.

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