Marianna- Most people don't consider the pound paradise- but for 31 dogs found abandon in a trailer Thursday, the Animal Control of West Florida's shelter was their saving grace.
"Terrible conditions," Jackson County Sargent, Jeffery Snell said shaking his head. "Very substandard. Feces in the residence- basically it was like that was their kennel- the home as a kennel. No sanitation in it whatsoever."
Responders had to wear protective clothing and breathing gear just to enter the house. Snell told us it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he'd ever seen. Officials said the residents appeared to have left town long ago, leaving the dogs for an unknown period of time. Sadly for some, when rescuers arrived, it was too late.
"Due to the lack of food, the other animals were cannibalizing the deceased animals. A lot of them were puppies- small puppies. None of the dogs had been spayed or neutered, so they were repopulating. No vet care, no health treatment of any kind appeared to had ever been applied to these dogs" Snell said.
But that all changed Thursday, when Animal Control of West Florida, an independently contracted shelter for Jackson and Washington Counties, accepted all 31 of the dogs to nurse back to health and prep for adoption
"We were here until about 6:30 [Thursday night] getting everybody in, fed, watered and settled" Belva Vaughn, with Animal Control of West Florida said.
Vaughn explained that all of the dogs would be examined by a Veterinarian for their health, and as a means of gathering evidence. Vaughn also reassured us that as of Friday, 'Fido' and friends- had a second shot at life.
"They seem to be calm and fairly pleasant this morning. We've got some real cute little puppies. And of course, everyone is sad and underweight, but we're going to see what we can do about that. They'll be getting treats, they'll be getting snacks, we'll be handling them. Just anything we can do to socialize them in hopes that I can get most, if not all of them, adopted or into a rescue that will then adopt them out."
And as for the couple who abused the dogs..."Once the investigation is completed then we'll meet with the state attorney, assess our options and take out the appropriate charges against them and secure warrants for their arrest" Snell said.
Animal cruelty is a third degree felony in Florida and carries a max sentence of five years per charge.
You can contact Animal Control of West Florida at:
686 Highway 90
Chipley, FL 32428