By Clint Parker
Madison County – Man’s best friend is sometimes neglected to the point of incomprehension. Such is the case last week when more than 50 canines were seized from a property on Little Bald Branch Road in Hot Springs.
According to Angela Davis, Animal Control Director for Madison County, the dogs were taken into custody after a report from a neighbor on the deplorable conditions the animals were living in. “Once we went out there, we realized that they were living in unsanitary living conditions, inadequate confinement, overcrowded. Lots of them had medical conditions that needed to be addressed,” explained Davis.
Asked if the owners of the animals were arrested, Davis said no, not at this time and they relinquished ownership after being served. “Honestly, they felt like they were doing a good thing by taking in all these stray animals, but unfortunately, they became overwhelmed and absolutely couldn’t care for them.”
Davis said this is the second-worst case she had seen. “They [the owners] were not charged with cruelty at this point. They relinquished the animals after we served the search and seizure warrant on them. At the end of that, they signed the animals over,” she explained.
“Honestly, they felt like they were doing a good thing by taking in all these stray animals, but unfortunately, they became overwhelmed and absolutely couldn’t care for them.”
The dogs are being housed at a building at the Madison County Fairgrounds in Marshall. There they are receiving care and evaluation and, hopefully, will be adopted.
“We have a lot of volunteer help. The community has really come out to support us and these animals and with their help, we’re making sure these dogs get the care and support that they need,” Davis said.
Davis said the dogs are currently being held for an extended time, so people whose dogs may have disappeared have a chance to come by and see if their missing animal is among the 51 canines seized.
Veterinarian Mark Ford with Mountain Animal Hospital in Weaverville helped with the removal and treatment of the animals. He had nothing but praise for the way Davis has handled the overwhelming influx of dogs into the Madison County system. “I’ve never seen anything like that come from this area as far as the level of organization that Anglea has been able to put together.”
While the initial outpouring of help has been “tremendous,” Ford said, it will need to continue for some time he added, saying, “These folks are going to need support for weeks.”
Those interested in helping out can find out more at the shelter’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MadisonCountyAnimalServices.