MILLSBORO — Fourteen severely emaciated and neglected dogs were rescued from a Millsboro property on Wednesday, officials said.
Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare officers made the rescue after Delaware Animal Services, the state’s animal control and cruelty enforcement unit, received a tip regarding several neglected dogs, as well as dogs running loose in a wooded area.
According to DAS, officers responded to capture the loose dogs, who were in poor condition, and to interview concerned residents about the state of the animals left on the property. Officers obtained a search warrant and upon entry, observed numerous emaciated dogs that needed immediate medical attention and four deceased dogs on the property, officials said.
The property appeared to be neglected and there was no evidence of food or water for the animals, DAS said.
“This is one of the worst neglect cases we have seen,” said Chief Mark Tobin, DAS investigative supervisor.
“It was obvious that the dogs had not received any care in a long while, and the conditions in which they were kept was appalling.”
The dogs, many of which had injuries from trying to escape their confinement, parasites, and other advanced signs of neglect, were taken immediately to an emergency veterinary hospital for urgent care, DAS said. Several dogs who were not confined had to be captured over a 24-hour period.
Officers worked through the Thanksgiving holiday to capture and rescue all remaining dogs running loose on the property and collect evidence.
“This case involved a tremendous amount of teamwork and we want to thank the Good Samaritans who first reported the case and the Sussex County Constable Office for assisting in the initial hours of the incident. We know the dogs are in good care now at Brandywine Valley SPCA,” said Chief Tobin.
Atwood Timmons II, of Millsboro, was arrested on Friday without incident on 18 charges of animal cruelty and multiple other charges concerning housing, care, rabies vaccination, and dog licensing violations. He was arraigned at JP Court 3 and unsecured bail was set at $60,000.
All dogs are receiving medical and rehabilitative care at the Brandywine Valley SPCA.
“These dogs will have a long road to recovery ahead of them,” says Adam Lamb, Chief Executive Officer of BVSPCA.
“We are committed to providing individualized care to each one of them. That may mean extensive medical treatment for serious conditions associated with long-term neglect, psychological rehabilitation, or training to prepare them to live in a home environment.”Whatever they need, we will provide it.”
Anyone interested in contributing to the animals’ rehabilitation and care can call Brandywine Valley SPCA at 516-1006.
Upon examination, Mr. Lamb shared that many of the cases will need around-the-clock care and intensive therapy for heartworm.
Additional diagnostic tests are being conducted on the dogs to get a better understanding of their condition and additional medical needs. Some cannot walk because of their poor state, but are alert and shelter medical staff are hopeful they will make a full recovery.
Besides physical injuries, Mr. Lamb also noted that a number of the dogs are very fearful and will need weeks of structured socialization. The goal is that every dog finds the loving forever home that they deserve, according to DAS.
To report possible animal cruelty, contact the DAS 24-hour hotline at 255-4646. DAS enforces animal cruelty, animal control, and rabies laws within the State of Delaware.
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