One of the ASPCA’s largest rescue operations is providing animals with care and medicine.
The seizure, one of the largest number of animals collected by the agency on record, occurred at The Haven-Friends for Life, a privately owned shelter in Raeford, NC, that had been licensed by the state and managed by Stephen Joseph and Linden Spear. The two appeared in court on Thursday facing charges of animal cruelty.
The majority of animals were being taken to two 40,000-foot warehouses owned by the ASPCA foe evaluation and treatment by more than 140 veterinarians, staff and volunteers. The animals were being placed in clean kennels with shavings and raised beds, according to the article.
The shelter was inspected by the state Agriculture Department in September and several deficiencies were noted, particularly inadequate medical care for the animals and insufficient watering. A follow-up inspection revealed the issues had not been corrected and led to the seizures.
Tim Rickey, ASPCA vice president of field investigations and response department said some of the animals had untreated injuries and illnesses, and the 122-acre site contained dozens of animal carcasses. Officials said four of the dogs that were rescued were being treated for respiratory illnesses and one dog, suffering from kidney failure, had to be euthanized.
Rickey added when the rescue operation is completed, the number of animals could reach 650, making this the second-largest companion animal rescue in the agency’s history. In 2012, the ASPCA rescued more than 700 cats in Florida, and once saved 4,000 chickens from a cockfighting operation.
The ASPCA plans to petition the court for legal custody of all the animals and they hope they can find suitable homes for each of them eventually. Shelter director Ehren Melius said the animals were already ecstatic to be in there new surroundings and added the goal of the shelter was to make each day better for the animals than the day before.
Agriculture Department spokesman Brian Long said broken promises by the couple at the no-kill shelter and some legal wrangling led to delays in getting the animals taken care of, adding the department kept trying to bring the shelter into compliance, but it never got there.