ASPCA Assists in Removal of Hundreds of Dogs from Overcrowded Sheltering Operation in Western Ohio

February 22, 2011

Springfield, Ohio--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Clark County (Ohio) Humane Society and Clark County Combined Health District, is assisting in the removal of approximately 400 dogs from overcrowded and filthy conditions at a private animal sheltering operation known as One More Chance Rescue and Adoption in Springfield, Ohio, approximately 20 miles northeast of Dayton.

A search warrant was executed last Thursday for the removal of all dogs on the property, which include 349 living and 76 dead. The ASPCA is collecting evidence and lending the services of its Field Investigation and Response team.

The shelter, located at 8393 Lower Valley Pike in Bethel Township, has been declared a public health nuisance. Dogs were housed in hog barns dotting the property and lived in stacked crates. According to its website, One More Chance Rescue and Adoption is a non-profit, independent, no-kill organization established 10 years ago and houses more than 230 dogs and cats. It is operated by Jeff Burgess, 56, who managed a second shelter in Piqua, Ohio where 100 animals were confiscated earlier this month. Several criminal charges, including animal cruelty charges, were filed in the case.

"This is an example of a 'no-kill' situation that spiraled out of control," said Kyle Held, the ASPCA's Midwest director of Field Investigations and Response. "The shelter operator intended to save animals at risk of euthanasia, but did not have the resources or capacity to provide adequately for these animals. Many of the dogs discovered on the property are in critical condition and in varying stages of illness; our immediate goal is to transfer them to a safe place where they will receive the care and treatment they so desperately need."

"The conditions these animals lived in were deplorable," added James Staley, the executive director of the Clark County Humane Society. "These dogs were forced to live in their own waste, alongside rats and other vermin. Add to that the stress of coping in a crowded and poorly ventilated environment, and you have animals whose overall health is severely compromised."

The dogs were seized by the Clark County Humane Society and are being transferred to an emergency shelter at an undisclosed location in Franklin County, where they will be triaged by veterinarians from various groups including Ohio State University.

More than 50 responders are on the scene, including staff and volunteers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, representatives from Clark County Combined Health District, and dog wardens from four counties. PetSmart Charities is providing an emergency trailer stocked with crucial supplies, including pet food, wire crates, plastic carriers and bowls.

The Clark County Humane Society contacted the ASPCA for assistance. Investigators have visited the site over the last four years, but say conditions have deteriorated.

If the public would like to support the Clark County Humane Society for the ongoing care of these rescued animals, please contact Security National Bank to donate funds, or drop off clean blankets and towels at the Second Harvest Food Bank, located at 701 East Columbia Street in Springfield, Ohio.