A group of 18 Shih Tzu and rat terrier mixes — one later had to be euthanized — were surrendered by their owner Saturday in an Indiana animal hoarding case authorities are calling one of the worst they’ve ever seen.
The investigation began Saturday afternoon when Madison County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a nuisance and barking dog complaint at a home located in Alexandria, according to a news release from the Animal Protection League in Anderson.
Officials said odor was emitting from the home as police approached. When police made contact with the owner, the owner had to walk around feces to exit the home and step out onto the porch.
The owner told police she had 19 dogs at home and she kept 18 inside. The owner then consented to a welfare check of the animals.
Police said fecal matter was on the floor and throughout the house. The dogs were well fed but were very unkempt.
Some had thick mats of fur dragging the ground, and some had no fur due to likely mange, officials said.
“When we’re called to help with a situation like this, and you can smell the urine from the driveway … you know it’s going to be really bad,” Maleah Stringer, director of the Animal Protection League said in a statement. “There has to be some point along the way that people have to realize they can’t handle caring for this many dogs, and they need help. Sadly, too many don’t make that call and the dogs end up paying the price.”
The walls of one of the bedrooms were covered in mold and the floor was covered in feces, police said. The smell of ammonia was so extreme that two sheriff’s deputies went for medical observation due to exposure.
The dogs were voluntarily surrendered by the owner and are being treated and observed at APL in Anderson.
One of the dogs had to be euthanized.
“We are hopeful the remaining 17 dogs are eventually healthy enough to be adopted,” Stringer said. “Right now, we’re looking at about $250 per dog just to get them basic veterinary care. The cost for those with medical issues is going to be even more.”
Call IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack at (317) 444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.
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17 Shih Tzu and rat terrier mixes rescued in Indiana animal hoarding case
Officials said the dogs were living in feces and mold, and that one of the dogs at the home had to be euthanized.
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