A total of 166 mixed-breed dogs and cats were rescued Wednesday from an Adams County property, according to The Humane Society of the United States.
Chris Schindler, director of animal crimes with The HSUS, said 148 dogs and 18 cats were seized after authorities became concerned with the suspected neglect situation.
The HSUS said the Adams County Dog and Kennel Department requested its assistance because of the number of animals involved in the case.
“These dogs and cats were in a terrible situation. The owner had too many animals and was unable to provide adequate care,” the HSUS said. “It is a huge relief that they will now receive the care and medical attention they so desperately need. We are grateful to the agencies who collaborated to make this a successful rescue.”
A search warrant was served on George Brock, owner of the Sugar Bear Dog & Cat Rescue facility off Mt. Unger Road near Otway.
Brock claims he doesn’t understand the allegations. He told WCPO News, “They’re treating me like trash, and like I’m against the dogs. It’s just the opposite.”
He did acknowledge that many of the animals in his care were older and injured. “Nine out of 10 of them were fat, overweight actually,” he added. “A lot of ‘em were too fat, I think.”
Deputy Micah Poe, who was present during the raid, told the People’s Defender in West Union, “It was surprising to see the conditions the animals and the people were living in.”
According to the HSUS, Adams County authorities served a search warrant and found dogs and cats suffering from a variety of medical ailments and a lack of basic care. Some of the animals were underweight and suffering from untreated wounds, broken bones and severe eye, skin and ear infections, according to the HSUS. It said the animals range in age from adolescents to old.
They were moved to an HSUS facility in Columbus, where Schindler said Thursday that the investigation was ongoing and a team of veterinarians was working to access the condition of the animals. He said that once that process is complete the information will be turned back over to the Adams County authorities. He said an “overwhelming number” of the animals had a range of medical issues, were emaciated, and were living in unsustainable conditions.
None of the animals were put down, the People’s Defender reported.
“If [the animals are] awarded to our custody we have a national group network of rescue organizations that will help us find them new homes,” Schindler said. “Right now, they’re still the property of the owner pending the outcome of the investigation. Our ultimate goal is to be able to find these animals new homes.
“We commend the local authorities, specifically the Adams County Dog and Kennel Department, for their diligence in investigating this case.”
At the temporary shelter, the animals were being thoroughly examined and receiving any necessary immediate medical treatment. Red Rover was assisting with the daily care of the animals, Rescue Bank provided the necessary food, and Greater Good was covering some of the costs for the necessary medical care, The HSUS said in a news release.
The Montgomery County Animal Resource Center assisted in the rescue.
“Animals shouldn’t have to suffer in such conditions, and we are glad that these dogs and cats will have the chance at a fresh start. We are thankful for the help of the local and national groups involved in this case,” the Adams County commissioners said in a joint statement.
It took rescuers more than 10 hours to remove the animals from the property, the HSUS said.
Brock is scheduled to appear in court Monday in Adams County.
“These dogs and cats were in a terrible situation. The owner had too many animals and was unable to provide adequate care,” Corey Roscoe, Ohio state director for The HSUS, said in the news release. “It is a huge relief that they will now receive the care and medical attention they so desperately need.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.