Animal Rescue Corps and New Leash On Life assisted the Wayne County, Ky. Animal Control officers and sheriff’s deputies Thursday in the rescue of about 80 dogs and two parrots found living in neglectful conditions at a home in Monticello, Ky., about two and a half hours northeast of Lebanon.
Sheriff’s deputies there seized all the animals, and they were brought to the Cumberland Valley Shows warehouse in Lebanon to be temporarily housed while they are rehabilitated and await word on custody.
Amy Haverstick with New Leash On Life said the Lebanon-based nonprofit animal rescue used its mobile surgical and transport vehicles, as well as its cargo van, to bring the animals to Lebanon. New Leash On Life volunteers also helped with the rescue in Kentucky.
ARC officials said a variety of small-breed dogs, including newborn litters, were found crowded into small, dilapidated, outdoor wire and wood hutches and pens encrusted with urine and excessive piles of feces. The only water sources were dirty and green with algae growth.
Officials said the dogs, the majority of which were underweight, were suffering from severe eye infections, significant fur loss and matting, urine-soaked fur, along with internal and external parasites, such as fleas.
The parrots were living in similar conditions, their cages and food bowls also covered in feces. All animals lacked adequate living conditions, socialization and veterinary care, ARC officials said.
“Animals have been suffering from various untreated illnesses on this horrendous property for more than a decade. The conditions were very typical of a puppy mill,” said ARC president Scotlund Haisley. “A lot of suffering ended here today, and I commend Wayne County Animal Control, Sheriff’s Office and county attorney for acting quickly and working with Animal Rescue Corps to shut this place down.”
Haverstick said much of the work is now just beginning, as a majority of the animals will need significant rehabilitation to get them healthy enough to be adopted if custody is granted to ARC.
“We’re happy just to help ARC get them out and get them the assistance they need so they can move on,” Haverstick said. “They need help. We need help. We always need help.”
Haverstick said volunteers are needed to help clean up after and care for the animals while in Lebanon. Donations of money, cleaning supplies, food for the volunteers and both wet and dry dog food are needed.
“They were living in just horrible conditions,” Haverstick said. “One of the dogs didn’t even have teeth.”
ARC officials said the case began when ARC received a tip concerning the alleged abuse of the dogs. Documentation brought by ARC to Wayne County Animal Control revealed several apparent violations of county and state cruelty codes.
“Wayne County takes allegations of animal cruelty very seriously,” said Wayne County Sheriff Charles Boston. “These animals needed our help immediately, so we didn’t hesitate to accept the assistance of Animal Rescue Corps and take action.”
The rescue, dubbed Operation Unbridled Spirit, will include each animal receiving a thorough veterinary exam, appropriate vaccinations and any necessary medical treatment. ARC will provide daily care until the court determines custody of the animals. If the animals are awarded to ARC, they will be placed with shelter and rescue organizations that will ultimately adopt them into homes.
“We are also a placement partner with them, so we can take them in if we need to,” Haverstick said.
To make a donation or volunteer to help care for the animals, call New Leash On Life at 615-444-1144.