The 31 dogs rescued from a home in Seaford are on the mend, officials say.
"After our team worked to shave them down, we saw what we expected: that they were severely emaciated," says Brandywine Valley SPCA Georgetown Campus Director Walter Fenstermacher. "But what we didn't expect was how warm their personalities were and how forthcoming they were and wanted to be pet and loved by our staff members."
Fenstermacher says the conditions the dogs were found in were shocking.
"Their legs were matted together some of the pets couldn't walk or even get up to get water we set out for them," he says. "It really was a struggle that day."
WBOC spoke with the family members of the dogs' owner off-camera on Tuesday. They say the owner was an older gentleman who lost his will to live after his partner died. Family members say they knew the man had dogs in a garage and kennel, but he refused to let anyone else see them, so the family had no idea how many dogs he owned or how they were doing. When the man went to the hospital on Sunday, family members went through 35 keys to access the dogs. Once they discovered the deplorable conditions, they called in the tip that ultimately led to the dogs' rescue.
Family members say they believe the man simply stopped feeding the dogs. While the animals' past was dire, their future appears to be bright.
"The earliest we expect for any of these pets to be ready for a new home will be in about seven days time," Fenstermacher explains. "There are other pets that the road to recovery is going to be a little bit longer so we are just wishing the best for all of them."
The BVSPCA asks for the community’s help meeting the significant cost of medical care for the survivors. Donations can be made at www.bvspca.org/seaford32 or by mail to: Brandywine Valley SPCA, 22918 Dupont Boulevard, Georgetown, DE 19947.