SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Workers at a South Georgia animal shelter are trying to save the lives of some puppies seized from a home where they weren't properly cared for.
Only a handful of the 30 dogs taken by Worth County Animal Control are still alive. Most of them were too sick and had to be put down.
The owners of the dogs are charged with first degree cruelty to animals after 25 of their pets were put down for severe mange and bacterial infections. The suspects were released on bond, and now the Best Friends Humane Society is keeping a close eye on the surviving puppies.
The three week old puppies are so small they struggle to hold themselves up. On Tuesday morning they, along with many other dogs, were seized from the house on 585 Sledge Road in near Ty Ty.
"When I looked in the window from the porch, I could see twenty to thirty dogs running around inside and the conditions were just horrible. There was feces all over the floor, and it was just nasty" said Sherri Hendley, Worth County Animal Control Director.
She said the owners, Stanley Boone and Mary Lee, said they didn't know how to handle all the dogs and likely couldn't afford to have them spayed, which led to more animals.
Neighbors reported a strong smell coming from the house, and said the dogs were never let outside.
"They had mange and severe bacterial infections. Several of them had eye infections. Um, you know, pus draining from the eyes," Hendley said.
Vets evaluated each of the 30 dogs and determined twenty five of them had to be put down. This is the second major seizure of abused or neglected dogs in Worth County in the last month.
"On May 31st we had the puppy mill, where we took in 53 dogs. This is a little bit different than a puppy mill. It's considered a hoarding case, where they were just physically and financially unable to take care of that many dogs," said Hendley.
Hendley said the three week old puppies are getting stronger, but the two one-week old puppies that are being bottle fed only have about a 50-50 chance to live.
"It's, you never know. It's better for the dog to actually feed from the mother because the mother gives it the antibodies. Everything that it needs to fight off disease and build a strong immune system," she said.
But as the dogs continue to get the care they need, their tails are wagging a little more often. Hendley said all of the surviving dogs from the puppy mill case have been adopted and will be given to families when they get a little stronger.
She said the puppies from the recent case will be looking for some new homes when they become healthier.
Hendley also told us she hopes the media attention will shed light on other cases of neglect in south Georgia. She urges anyone who suspects animal abuse or inhumane conditions to contact your local animal control or law enforcement agency.