Animal services seized more than 70 dogs, many of them in poor condition, from a home in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
Authorities gave the owner of the Gulf Breeze property – who previously ran a dog rescue center – a notice to comply and on Monday handed the dogs over to animal control.
Santa Rosa County Animal Services officials said the dogs were kept in unsuitable living conditions.
“They were in unclean cages and kennels that weren’t clean or maintained,” Santa Rosa County Animal Services Director Megan Arevalo told ABC affiliate WEAR.
Animal control was unable to remove the dogs immediately as their shelter was full so they temporarily kept the dogs off the property.
Officials said most of the dogs were underweight and had skin infections.
Brandi Winkleman, a member of the HOPE Animal Welfare Organization, told WEAR that the dogs “were not in great shape”.
“They are underweight and suffer from skin dermatitis,” she said.
Veterinarians are now caring for the dogs, providing them with vaccines and deworming them.
After seizing the dogs, authorities then transferred them to the Santa Rosa County Agriplex Center, where a space was made available for a week.
The dogs are kept in donated kennels and are cared for by over 20 volunteers from eight different animal rescue groups.
Santa Rosa County Animal Services is asking members of the public to provide a foster home for any animals that have been seized. The organization is also asking people to adopt from their animal shelters to make room for seized dogs.
“Adopt, adopt, engage our rescues,” Arevalo said.
In the meantime, animal rescue groups in several states are working to find homes for the dogs.
The dogs’ former owner could face animal cruelty charges pending the results of an ongoing investigation.
Arevalo said she did not classify the incident as an animal storage situation, saying the owners of the dogs had previously tried to help the animals but got to the point where they were no longer able to take care of it properly.
“If you don’t spay and spay…if you don’t have responsible pet owners, then we’re going to end up in these bad situations,” she said.
In a Facebook post, Santa Rosa County Animal Services said they were “grateful” the Gulf Breeze resident cooperated with them to give the dogs a better chance at finding a new home.
“We currently only have a few kennels open at the shelter due to welcoming almost 20 animals from different situations over the weekend. The work of an animal shelter never stops and we We are committed to providing the best possible care and chance of adoption for every animal in our care,” Animal Services said in the post.
“The shelter is actively working with rescuers across the United States to remove dogs from this admission as well as our shelter. It takes a village and we cannot thank the community, volunteers and our partners enough for helping us with this. huge undertaking!”
Earlier in February, authorities seized more than 150 dogs from an alleged “puppy mill” in Pickens County, South Carolina.
Pickens County Animal Deputies found several dogs living in “poor conditions”. The property owner was charged with two counts of animal abuse and one count of rabies control violation.