Sixty dogs surrendered after owner's death

AUTUMN OWENS/WD PHOTO

Animal control officers along with animal shelter staff picked up 60 chihuahuas from a residence in Horseshoe Bend on March 7 following the death of the homeowner.

“Initially the report was 10 dogs with a deceased person inside the home. We got there and I quickly realized, once I got inside and saw the scene, we had more than 10,” Weatherford Animal Control Officer Jeff Sayles said. “The condition of the home was just deplorable. You could not see the floor. Every inch of that house was covered in feces — floor, furniture, tables. The smell of ammonia was completely overwhelming, you had to have a mask going in, and there were just animals coming from everywhere.”

The homeowner’s son surrendered the dogs to the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter and they were transported to the facility that afternoon where they received treatment and are currently in the process of being spayed and neutered.

“They all got vaccines, they all got dewormer and they all got flea meds and then some needed a vitamin shot from being malnourished and some fluids,” Animal Services Operations Manager Eric Shumar said. “The vet evaluated every one of them, one had a broken leg, but he thought they were all OK enough to get better with food, water and vet care here, so we didn’t euthanize any. We did find one little puppy and a county officer took it home to bottle feed it.”

None of the dogs are currently up for adoption and are all still under medical evaluation.

“A lot of them are anti-social,” Sayles said. “I mean with 60 dogs, how can you socialize them? And even then, they weren’t getting the care they needed. I’ve been in houses like that before but this was probably the worst I’ve been in.”

Shumar added, “I didn’t see a water bowl anywhere in the house or a dog food bag.”

Once the dogs are nurtured back to health, Sayles and Shumar said they would love for people to come adopt them or any of the other 42 dogs they have at this time.

“In February alone we 433 dogs and cats and that’s normal, that’s not a seizure or anything like that,” Shumar said. “Since Oct. 1 [2019] we’ve had 2,377 animals.”

In the city of Weatherford the limit for owning dogs and/or cats is five, but in the county, the number is limited by how many an owner can properly provide vet care to, Shumar said.

“I would assume that you have to have vet records for every single animal, so if you have 60 animals, they need to be in great condition in order for you to keep them,” Sayles said.

Shumar said, as always, they want to promote spaying or neutering animals in the county.

“We try to encourage people to go to a vet in our area, but if they can’t pay, then we’ll help out,” Shumar said. “We’re trying to push other vets — there are great vets in Parker County and we don’t want to take from vet care — and don’t want to be a low-cost clinic, but if they can’t do it then we will spay and neuter just to reduce the population.”

To keep updated on the status of the 60 chihuahuas, visit the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page. 

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