Morristown, TN – Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) responded today to an urgent call from Hamblen County officials for assistance with more than 60 dogs of various breeds, two cats, and several tropical fish found living in deplorable conditions in a home in Morristown, Tenn., approximately four hours east of Nashville.
All of the animals were seized by the Morristown Hamblen Humane Society.
Locally-based New Leash on Life, a shelter partner with ARC, provided transportation for the animals to a temporary shelter provided by the Floyd family of Lebanon.
The Morristown Hamblen Humane Society made this discovery on Valentine’s Day while responding to complaints regarding an animal rescue organization being operated in the home, and they immediately reached out to ARC for help upon discovering the severity of the conditions and the large number of animals in danger at the property.
ARC was on the ground less than 24 hours later with the necessary equipment and supplies, transport vehicles, volunteers, and a veterinarian.
“We take animal cruelty reports seriously in Hamblen County and these conditions were unacceptable,” said Sheriff Esco Jarnagin. “We’re grateful Animal Rescue Corps could assist us so quickly to address this situation and bring the animals to safety.”
Responders found dozens of dogs, who had been without access to food, water, and necessary veterinary care, in small, filthy crates and dozens more running loose in a house among piles of garbage on urine-soaked and feces-covered floors.
Dogs, several who were underweight and two who were nursing mothers, exhibited various illnesses and injuries, including external parasites, conjunctivitis, and severe diarrhea.
“These animals have been living in a house of horrors, with an overwhelming stench of ammonia and an unbelievable build up of feces all over,” said Animal Rescue Corps President Scotlund Haisley. “These animals have endured tremendous suffering and it ends today.”
Working under the Morristown Hamblen Animal Shelter and the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department, ARC safely removed 100 percent of the animals and transported them to an emergency shelter where ARC will provide daily care until custody of the animals is determined and they can be placed with partnering shelters and rescue groups.
All of the animals will receive full medical exams, vaccinations and any necessary treatments by a team of local veterinarians.
One of the two property owners and alleged rescue operators was arrested yesterday and charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty and is currently out on bond. An arrest warrant has been issued for the second suspected owner and operator who remains at large.
According to officials Monday afternoon, the “owner” of the animals has surrounded all dogs to ARC, who will begin placing them with their placement partners as soon as they are well enough to travel.
However, as many of them suffered from chronic dehydration, viral infections, parasites, skin and eye infections, and respiratory conditions, volunteers are still needed as well as the supplies listed below. The shifts for volunteers are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.
Lunch for the volunteers has been provided for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but may be needed for probably another week as the animals recover from their physical and emotional traumas before being placed with ARC placement partners.
Anyone wishing to volunteer should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those wishing to donate breakfasts and/or lunches for the volunteers are asked to email email@example.com.
The following supplies are needed as well:
• Pee pads
• Peanut Butter
• French Fry trays (see picture below at left)
• Bottled water
• Canned dog food, preferably Nutro Science Diet or Pedigree lamb or chicken
• Empty spray bottles
Animal Rescue Corps performed this rescue, dubbed Operation Mending Hearts, in conjunction with shelter partner New Leash on Life that provided transportation for the animals, the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department, the Morristown Hamblen Humane Society, and Dr. Daniel Parks of Five Rivers Mobile Veterinary Service. ARC would also like to thank the Floyd family of Lebanon and Patterson Veterinary Supplies for their support.