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Jackson shelter swamped with puppy mill dogs

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman Rachel Rhodes, Jackson County humane officer, gives some love to a shih tzu that was seized from a Jackson County home. Bethany Hively, a registered veterinary technician with the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association, went to the shelter Thursday to assist the staff.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman
Rachel Rhodes, Jackson County humane officer, gives some love to a shih tzu that was seized from a Jackson County home. Bethany Hively, a registered veterinary technician with the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association, went to the shelter Thursday to assist the staff.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Humane officers seized 135 dogs from deplorable conditions in a Jackson County home this week, inundating the small county shelter with homeless animals.

The animal shelter, which employs just five people, had 18 dogs before the seizure.

“Everywhere you look, there are dogs,” humane officer Sheila Chambers said.

Volunteers were busy Thursday afternoon trying to find spaces for the new arrivals. They collected and organized supplies and cleaned the dogs, some of which had fecal matter caked to their paws.

Though the shelter was bustling, it was mostly quiet. Many of the volunteers remarked about how none of the dogs barked.

Sheriff’s deputies went to the Sandyville home off Jackson County 21 Wednesday afternoon after a tip from a local man who said he went to the home to buy a dog. He recorded a cellphone video of the conditions at the home and uploaded it to Facebook. He also reported the conditions to the local humane society.

“I saw the video and said, ‘round up everyone, we’re going out there,’” Chambers said.

When she got there, she said there were about 60 dogs in a trailer and several more in an attached building and out in the fields. She said all of the dogs in the house were smaller breeds like Yorkshire terriers and pugs and that the owner had been a breeder for years.

“There was not a piece of property without dogs … The vet recommended that we get them out of there,” she said.

They started taking the dogs, assigning them numbers and taking pictures so they could identify them later. She said the vet checked the dogs and humane officers put them in crates and transported them to the shelter Wednesday night.

“We had to find places to put them here. Some are at the fairgrounds,” she said, explaining that there are 18 kennels in the outbuilding and 13 in the main building. “It’s jammed full of dogs.”

All the dogs were covered with fleas and some had eye problems because the fur around their eyes hadn’t been properly cleaned, she said. Chambers said the vet told her he was surprised the dogs didn’t have maggots.

She said this is the largest seizure she’s ever been involved with…

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