SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. – The Humane Society of Skagit Valley (HSSV) is working around the clock, after taking in more than 100 neglected dogs.
“Because of the company it is, it has really exhausted our team. Physically, emotionally,” says HSSV chief executive Janine Ceja.
She tells KIRO 7 earlier this month, 126 dogs were seized from two properties in Skagit County. The dogs rescued are mainly Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese breeds, with a few Chihuahuas.
“When I got the call… I immediately went into emergency mode,” Ceja recalls. “Then it hit me what we were dealing with. It’s just a lot. The smell, the stench, what they had to endure.
Most of the dogs showed signs of malnutrition, fur matted with feces and parasites, such as ear mites. Some had birth defects due to inbreeding.
Ceja estimates that their abuse lasted six to 12 months before the dogs were seized and brought to the shelter.
Over the past two weeks, staff and local vets have been working to care for each of the dogs. For many dogs, their job required shaving matted hair – some so thick it was difficult for dogs to walk, and clipping overgrown nails – some so long they curled under dogs’ paws.
“It’s crazy,” Ceja says.
Meanwhile, an investigation is ongoing into dog neglect. Ceja says more resources are needed to make sure this kind of massive neglect doesn’t continue to happen.
“We need to have the right amount of manpower to be able to move forward and have an appropriate animal control presence. And right now we don’t,” Ceja says. “We must be their voices. We do. We must be their voices.
The Humane Society says it has been inundated with calls for adoption. Ceja asks for patience as the investigation continues and the dogs’ medical needs are met. It could take several weeks, but HSSV plans to notify the community on social media when the 100+ dogs are available for adoption.
Ceja says there are ways for the community to help dogs now. The shelter is currently in need of cash donations to help pay the dogs’ medical bills. In addition, investment opportunities will continue to be available. The shelter asks that only people with fostering experience apply, as the dogs continue to recover from their trauma.
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