On June 17, 2010, the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response Team was deployed to Waynesboro, Tennessee, to assist the Wayne County Sheriff's Department with a critical hoarding intervention. A total of 85 dogs—including German Shepherds, Labradors and Hound mixes—were discovered in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions on a property owned by an elderly man. Dogs were contained in large pens, chained to posts throughout the yard and found roaming the property.
"The dumping of dogs is a serious problem throughout this area, and local authorities are without the resources or infrastructure to handle the problem," said Kyle Held, the ASPCA's Midwest Regional Director of Field Investigations and Response. "In this case, an elderly man became overwhelmed by the number of dogs in his care—he obviously needed help and voluntarily gave us custody of the animals."
Twelve of the rescued dogs were moved—via the ASPCA's new, custom-built animal transport trailer—to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City where they underwent medical treatment before being made available for adoption.
"Many of the dogs tested heartworm-positive," said Dr. Robert Reisman, Medical Coordinator of Abuse Cases at the ASPCA. "Heartworm is a treatable condition, but it will take at least six to eight weeks until the treatment is complete."
The remaining dogs were transferred to ASPCA partner agencies, including the Nashville Humane Association and the Atlanta Humane Society—two organizations that played a vital role in the case by providing essential resources such as veterinary mobile clinics to treat animals at the scene. Local veterinarians and volunteers, including Dr. Rebecca Coleman of Memphis, also assisted with the on-site medical needs of the animals. PetSmart Charities donated 100 crates to temporarily house and transport the animals.
"With the generous assistance of local law enforcement and our partner agencies, we were able to organize the rescue operation and do what's best for the animals," said Held. "We removed them from the property, provided medical and behavioral evaluations, and will now find them loving homes."
To learn more about animal hoarding, visit our Hoarding FAQ.
Tim Rickey, ASPCA's Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response, transports two rescued dogs to safety
Kyle Held, ASPCA's Midwest Director of Field Investigations and Response, provides comfort to a frightened pup.