Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ASPCA Rescues 25 Dogs from Horrific Conditions in Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), under the authority of the Washington County, Ga. Sheriff's Office, today removed 25 alleged fighting and breeding dogs from a 25-acre property near Sandersville, Ga.

Working in conjunction with teams from United Animal Nations and Sumter DART (Disaster Animal Response Team), the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team removed 25 dogs from the property at 1750 Ohoopee Church Rd., approximately 130 miles southeast of Atlanta. At least 25 emaciated dogs were discovered, chained to tire axles and posts that dotted the property, and another 27 were found dead and in various stages of decomposition.

"It's bad enough that these dogs were treated cruelly and raised in horrible conditions," said Tim Rickey, the ASPCA's Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response. "But to leave them like this to starve is incomprehensible and speaks exactly to the kinds of heinous crimes the ASPCA fights day in and day out."

Washington County authorities intend to arrest the caretaker of the animals, who claims that the original owner of the dogs did not provide them with adequate food and other necessities. Other arrests and animal cruelty charges are anticipated.

"This has been going on for much too long," said Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith. "We are committed to fighting animal cruelty in all its forms."

"We are grateful to be able to respond to this situation, and for the agencies assisting us," said Deputy Lynn Schlup of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, who contacted the ASPCA approximately three weeks ago for assistance. She said none of the dogs were current on vaccinations.

The dogs were transferred to an emergency shelter at an undisclosed location in Washington County provided by Vanguard Associates. They will be triaged by ASPCA veterinarians Dr. Melinda Merck and Dr. Robert Reisman, along ASPCA veterinary technicians, and assisted by Dr. Jason Byrd, Associate Director of the Center for Forensic Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The dogs will be cared for at the temporary shelter by volunteers of United Animal Nations until a forfeiture hearing.

All of the dogs are emaciated and undernourished; some are suffering from untreated injures, respiratory problems and open wounds. Tethered by log chains, the dogs were discovered without food, water or adequate shelter, shivering in the freezing temperatures.

Authorities believe that the dogs rescued were used for fighting. "They bear the battle scars consistent with those of fighting dogs," Rickey said. ""Being on log chains 24/7 is no way to live," he added. "These dogs have lived a miserable life, and are just as starved for human contact."

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