54 animals seized from home
Published 7:36 am Monday, June 20, 2005
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER-Managing editor
An anonymous tip led Humane Society officials to a deserted mobile home, where officials found more than 50 animals trapped in 100-degree weather.
Renee Jones, a Humane Society cruelty investigator, said on Thursday that the shelter received an anonymous complaint on Wednesday evening leading to the seizure of more than four dozen animals left alone with a "teeny" bit of water.
Humane Society officials responded to the call and were led to an abandoned mobile home in the middle of a small field near the side of the highway. Jones said the home was located between mile markers 24 and 25 along Hwy. 29.
Because the mobile home has been abandoned and has no running water or electricity, it does not have a 911-assigned positive or physical address.
Upon arrival, officials heard dogs barking inside the home, which was covered in overgrown grass and weeds. They contacted the district attorney and sheriff's office and were granted the authority to enter the home.
Humane Society officials have the authority to enter a building or facility if they suspect an animal is in imminent danger. Jones said they gained entry into the residence and found eight small breed dogs, a full-grown prairie dog, 31 exotic birds and 14 chicken cages stacked on top of each other.
Jones said the smell was so pungent they had to call the Drug Task Force and use their hazardous material suits to enter the home. She said the urine and heat were so strong their eyes began to sting.
After examining the home, it was found that blankets were covering the shut windows, the front door was "wired and sort of nailed shut," the interior was piled with boxes, junk and furniture, no power was available and minimal water was left for all 54 animals.
Jones said despite a few dead chickens and the horrible conditions, the birds appeared to be in "good condition."
Jones said that neighbors had seen someone coming to the mobile home every four or five days and dropping off animals. Otherwise, the mobile home had been abandoned for nearly three or four months.
Officials set out again on Thursday afternoon to stabilize and catch a loose, small dog they were unable to catch on Wednesday.
Jones said officials are still trying to obtain positive identification of the person, who is believed to be female and owns the mobile home. Officials believe the person is living in Florida and has not come back to the mobile home to notice that the animals have been seized.
Jones added that no charges have been filed but they are forthcoming. The mobile home is owned by an individual or individuals and is not being rented.
Sgt. Feast Broughton, Officer Rodney Brand, Officer Geoffrey McGraw and Chief Lovelace investigated the incident.