Alabama

Rescue groups reach out after 80+ cats and dogs seized in animal hoarding case

Just a little more than a dozen animals remain after 83 were seized Wednesday from a mobile home in Chambers County. Animal Control officers say although they have responded to animal hoarding cases before, this is the worst one they've yet seen.

The rescued 56 cats and 27 dogs were taken to the Chattahoochee Humane Society; however, staff confirm to News 3 all the cats were put down within hours.

"If the animal is you know severely injured or severely sick, sometimes we will make a call on that the better thing for the animal would be euthanized," says Director Shon Sims.

Animal Control Officer April Parrish tells News 3's Mikhaela Singleton she was among those who responded to the trailer on Chambers County Road 105. She says she saw first hand the deplorable conditions the cats were forced to live in.

"Every surface had some type of cat waste on it, and I would say more than 90 percent of the cats were contained in that space," she says. "Most of them were what we would consider feral. The cats looked like they had been desperate for food, maybe taken chunks from each other. A lot of them had conjunctivitis in their eyes, upper respiratory, and just plain out wild."

Sims also confirms at least one of the cats tested positive for a highly contagious disease Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV, which attacks the immune system and is easily passed by biting.

Volunteers from several animal rescue groups responded to Chattahoochee Humane Society to offer their help and services Thursday. Hannah Hilderbrand with Big Valley Animal Rescue says although she is saddened that she and her rescue could not provide aid to the cats, she and volunteers from Woof Avenue Rescue in Auburn intend to do everything they can for the remaining dogs.

"When I heard about this case, I mean, I knew [the animals] didn't have a chance," Hilderbrand says. "We come up to make sure that CHS knew we were here for them and that we were here for support, that I had rescues willing to help pull whoever they needed help pulling."

She adds rescue groups from across the country have already reached out offering resources. Sims says Chattahoochee Humane has also received so many calls offering help, it is both overwhelming and humbling.

"When we run into situations like this, we don't have fosters that we can send the animals out to ourselves, and so it's been really humbling to have this many rescues reach out. We're so grateful to 'em for it," she says.

Ten of the dogs seized in the hoarding case were also put down, and two were picked up by Big Valley and Woof Avenue Rescue. One, a pregnant bulldog mix, Hilderbrand allowed News 3's Mikhaela Singleton to name Missy.

The remaining 15 dogs will be picked up by Big Valley on Saturday after which some will be sent to a shelter they have a partnership with in Illinois.

In the meantime, local community members who wish to help are encouraged to offer their services as foster homes if residing in Chambers County. The shelter and rescue groups also accept regular donations of food, toys, bedding, and other pet necessities.


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