Breaking: HSUS helps rescue 140 dogs from alleged severe neglect situation in Florida county

By on February 25, 2020 with 14 Comments

It’s clearly been a rough life so far for the nearly 140 dogs, including several puppies, we helped rescue this morning from a densely-wooded, five-acre property in Dixie County, Florida.

As members of our Animal Rescue Team, who were assisting the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office, arrived on the property in the pouring rain, they witnessed dozens of barking dogs housed in ramshackle, hutch-like structures. The hutches were filthy, caked with feces, and leaking from the heavy rain.

There were no permanent buildings on the property, just a few campers packed with more dogs, and a dilapidated, 980-square-foot mobile home. Inside were three dogs huddled protectively together, nearly all of their fur missing.

Our team is taking every dog from the property today and transporting them to a temporary animal shelter. The animals are clearly suffering from severe neglect—some had no apparent access to food and water and most appear to be ailing from skin conditions characterized by missing fur, sores and itchy skin. Clearly they will need all of the medical attention and TLC we can give them in weeks to come.

Photo by Meredith Lee/The HSUS Dozens of dogs were housed in ramshackle, hutch-like structures, with more dogs in campers and a mobile home on the property.

Over the years, and over dozens of such rescues, our Animal Rescue Team has seen it all. But as Laura Koivula, deputy manager of animal crimes for the Humane Society of the United States described it, this scene was as tragic as it gets.

As we always find with these rescues, while some of the animals who are visibly suffering are understandably nervous when they face their rescuers, most are also resilient and bond immediately. One of our staffers told me about a mother dog who, upon seeing the team, immediately walked up to the front of the hutch, tail wagging. Behind her were several puppies, likely no more than a couple of days old.

Altogether, all but three of the approximately 140 dogs rescued from the property were surrendered to us today. The three who were not surrendered will be expertly cared for along with the surrendered dogs as the court process decides their eventual outcome.

Florida has strong animal cruelty laws in place and in coming weeks, we hope law enforcement will successfully hold those responsible for this neglect accountable. Meanwhile we will be working to help these dogs return to good health and spirits. As always, this will require a tremendous amount of resources, and we are grateful to our partners who have stepped in to help, including the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, which is making a generous donation to help support the expert care and supplies needed for the rescued animals, and, which is donating food for the dogs.

This rescue and others is just one of many ways that we are helping animals every day. Please help support all of our fights.


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  1. Diane Bishop says:

    Thank heavens there are wonderful folks like y’all, willing to take on what is a horrific situation.
    It is always overwhelming to my mind and heart that this continues and humans have lost
    their humanity.
    Thank you

  2. Bev Anderson says:

    This is heartbreaking! These dogs deserve a second chance to be loved! Praying for these pets to find forever homes and be able to run and play, have adequate shelter, food and water, and plenty of belly rubs! Love!!!! Please keep us updated!

  3. June Haggar says:

    WHY would you allow 3 dogs to remain in the care of the sociopaths? They ALL should have been taken away and the owners arrested on the spot. What is happening to the laws in the United States? The law and courts and judges do not care about animals and prosecuting offenders.

  4. DM says:

    A dispictable puppy mill?!!

    I can’t believe that others, outside of this business, did not know about this horror. It’s time for governments to consider laws making it illegal for others to know about animal abuse and not report it. But, then, PUPPY MILLS NEED TO BE A THING OF THE PAST!!

  5. Deedee Dillingham says:

    Several years ago, rescuers brought two bullies with severe demodectic mange to my house for rehab. Back then, I had to treat them with oral ivermectin for months, as well as antibiotics and an antifungal. Today, one can use one dose of Bravecto for mange. Times have changed.

    Hope all the dogs recover physically and mentally. And I hope the perpetrator is charged (no matter whether s/he meant well).

    • Judy Miller says:

      I was interested in your comments about your dogs with demodectic mange. I had to deal with that with my sweet cat several years ago. One question: did the treatment you describe include the process of shearing and dipping the animal in “sheep dip ???” My Tommy didn’t make it even with all of the uncomfortable treatments and never a peep from him. How did yours fare ?
      Judy Miller or
      Facebook: Judy Miller

  6. Melissa Harris says:

    Who is responsible for this?? Are they being prosecuted??? Justice should reign supreme.

  7. Dorothy McElwain says:

    Is there anyway to find out where these dogs will be located once they are cleared and can be adopted.

    Do any of these rescues end up in Pittsburgh, PA?

    If so, where.

  8. Sandra says:

    God bless you for helping these poor babies.

  9. Eric Letourneaux says:

    I cannot find any information or articles about adopting these dogs. What’s going to happen to them? How can we offer to adopt?

  10. Maria Salazar says:

    Where can we see these dogs?

  11. Sue says:

    Why does someone have this many dogs? I hope the person or people are punished severely.

  12. Cheryl Lynch says:

    These innocents are so blessed to have been rescued by the humane society. It’s heartwarming to read the comments and interest people have in their future.

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