Animal Rescue Corps, a national organization with local volunteers, assisted the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the rescue of the 32 animals found living in neglectful conditions at a property in Morgan County.
Morgan County sheriff’s officials seized 20 dogs, one donkey, four miniature donkeys, two ponies, a potbellied pig, three roosters and one hen.
ARC volunteers documented all of the animals on the property and took the dogs to an emergency shelter set up at Novamet Specialty Products in Lebanon for the rescue, dubbed Operation Dire Straits. New Leash on Life volunteers assisted in the dogs’ transfer.
Each animal will receive a thorough veterinary exam, appropriate vaccinations and any necessary medical treatment.
The animals were surrendered to Animal Rescue Corps. ARC will provide daily care until they can be transferred to shelter and rescue organizations that will ultimately adopt them into loving homes. For people wishing to foster or adopt, ARC will publish its list of shelters and rescue placement partners on its Facebook page once the dogs are transferred to the groups.
Morgan County sheriff’s deputies visited the property after receiving an animal abandonment complaint. Upon inspection, they found apparent violations of state and local animal cruelty codes. Small dogs were visible inside the locked house, the floor of which was piled thick with animal feces, strewn with debris, soaked in urine, and no food or water were found.
The stench and dangerously high levels of ammonia gas from the animal waste prevented authorities from entering the building immediately. The property owner, who reportedly claimed to breed and sell the dogs and did not live where the animals were found, was charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty and later released on bond. Authorities reached out to Animal Rescue Corps, and a team responded within hours of receiving the call for help.
I’m so grateful we were in a position to respond to this request; we didn’t get here a moment too soon,” said Animal Rescue Corps president Scotlund Haisley. “These animals were on death’s door when we arrived, but they’re safe now, and we’re going to do everything possible to help them recover.”
The dogs inside the house, mostly Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes, were found without food or water loose inside the feces-strewn home. Adult dogs and weeks-old puppies exhibited signs of severe chronic neglect, including emaciation, mange, dehydration, intestinal worms, external parasites, runny eyes and alopecia. Found outside on the property were four dogs chained to trees, horses in a pasture, chickens with extremely poor body conditions in wire pens and an overweight potbellied pig with overgrown hooves. None of the animals had food or water.
“It’s just pitiful that a dog, or any kind of animal, would be treated this way…” said David Wood with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department. “There is no water source for them.”
Animal Rescue Corps performed Operation Dire Straits in conjunction with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, Compassion in Action of Tennessee, Goofy Foot Dog Rescue, Small Breed Rescue of East Tennessee and Redemption Road Rescue. Novamet Specialty Products in Lebanon donated space to serve as the ARC emergency shelter.