Nearly 60 dogs have been removed from the home of a Holmes County woman who once was a breeder but fell on hard times and couldn't feed or properly care for the animals.
The former nurse, who is now disabled, was living in a dilapidated home with 58 dogs. Most were wire-haired terriers.
"She loved the dogs so much and didn't want to give them to someone who wouldn't take care of them," said Doll Stanley, director of investigations for the Mid-South office of In Defense of Animals. "The whole north side of her house had fallen off, but she was bound to her house because she didn't know what to do with the dogs."
With no way to continue financially supporting the animals, the woman called Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, which alerted In Defense of Animals.
Stanley and Dr. Walter Roberts, a Lexington veterinarian, evaluated the situation in January, helped remove the first 19 dogs, and provided urgent care for the animals.
Roberts said he didn't want to release the name of the woman because she is elderly and lives alone.
"She gave up all she had for these animals, and she went without," he said. "One of the reasons she acquired some of the mixed-breed dogs is because people would drop them off in the neighborhood and they would come to her house."
The woman soon will move into a habitable home and keep one terrier, Natasha, who will be spayed.
"That this woman has lived in dire conditions suffering a disabled back, and begged for food for her animals, is a tribute to her true commitment to them," Stanley said. "She isn't a collector who acquires animals she can't help.
"Though she falls under the 'hoarder' category for allowing the dogs to multiply, I'm humbled by her will to stand by them and ask for help."
In Defense of Animals' Project Hope sanctuary near Grenada and Mississippi Spay & Neuter are teaming to spay and neuter the dogs that were released to In Defense of Animals. MS SPAN spayed 20 Friday at their "Big Fix" rig in Pearl.
On Tuesday, Project Hope will take many of the dogs to Every Creature Counts in Denver to place the dogs for adoption. ECC will show the dogs during an upcoming PetSmart Charities "Adopt-a-thon."
"The reason they are going to Colorado is because our sanctuary is filled to capacity," Stanley said. "We know they will get homes in Colorado. In Mississippi, we have too many dogs and cats. They will never get homes here."
Stanley said this single case has cost In Defense of Animals $8,100...." More