FREEPORT, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A total of 87 animals are now safe and sound after a local refuge pulled together resources to help find them new homes.
Monday was a long day for Alaqua Refuge founder, Laurie Hood and her team as they organized a mass rescue of Great Pyrenees dogs in Washington County.
"We had organized for groups from all over the country to come in," said Hood.
They dogs were victims of a hoarding situation and were left to Alaqua once the owner had passed.
"They're in really poor shape for the most part. a lot of them have hip issues from being inbred. A lot of them are missing teeth or their teeth are worn down. They have terrible, terrible ear infections. A lot of the ear infections like this poor girl. The smell was horrific to just be around her so you know she was in pain. They were infested with fleas and most likely will be heartworm positive," Hood described.
Now, with the help of about 10 other organizations, Hood said they had about 45 people separating the dogs based off of their specific need level.
"So they had come in from all over the country and we set up a huge operation. We divided into teams that included medical teams, animal handling teams, rescue coordination teams, logistics. That kind of thing. And we just went in and got it done," said Hood.
And now these animals all have a safe place to recover and call home.
"What we're gonna do here is get them to a safe place so we can begin the spay and neuter surgeries and at that time, we will conduct a heartworm test to see who is heartworm positive. After they recover from their spay or neuter, we'll put them through the heartworm treatment which is about a months time," she explained. "We are just going to take our time and make sure they get healed, both emotionally and physically."
Hood said it's a pretty lengthy process to get them from where they are now to where they are ready to be adopted.
"When we see animals from situations like this, a lot of the times. You can see it in their eyes. They just have given up, because I feel like they think they don't want to live anymore, but one of the greatest things we do is watching the look in their eyes change and only in a couple short days I can see the ones that you walked in earlier. You used to walk in and they would just try to get away from you because they didn't know any better and now they stay. They are still cautious but they stay and, yeah they are going in and hand feeding them and just really trying to gain their trust at this point," Hood explained.
She said if anyone is interested, she welcomes them to come visit the refuge.
"We just encourage people to come out and meet the dogs and get to know a little bit about us and the organization and we hope that if they don't fall in love with one of the ones we have here today, that they'll fall in love with someone else."
Hood said her organization was able to take in seven adult dogs, 10 puppies and 15 cats from the property.
Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, took 20 dogs, Florida Great Pyrenees Rescue took 20 dogs, Tri-County Humane Society took 6 dogs, and
Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue took 5 dogs from the site on Monday.