Yikes! Bring Out the Dog Flea Shampoo!
From time to time you will hear shocking stories about pets being kept in unfortunate conditions. It isn’t uncommon to see news items about homes with too many animals and pets that have been cruelly treated. However, one couple in New Jersey have taken things to a whole new level.
A dog on the loose and complaints from neighbours led the local SPCA to investigate Charlene and Jospeh Handrick. The stench from the house was immediately obvious and there were clearly many dogs barking inside the home. When the Handrick home was searched no less than 276 dogs were discovered!
Fleas, Faeces and Rotting Floors
The dogs all had terrible fleas which was going to mean an awful lot of dog flea shampoo. The house was also infested with both fleas and flies and the floors were rotting due to the faeces and urine. The dogs were discovered all over the home. Some were sitting on shelves, others under the beds. Some had clearly never been outside and many were terrified. Rescuers were required to wear hazmat suits as they removed the dogs which included a wide variety of different breeds.
When the dogs were rescued in June of this year, one was in the middle of giving birth and 20 further animals were found to be pregnant. Since the rescue the puppies which have been born have raised the number of dogs seized to over 300. The rescue operation took 12 hours.
Conditions in the Handrick home were truly terrible but fortunately the dogs were not undernourished. This fact saved the offending couple from the most serious charges. Nonetheless they were charged with 552 counts of animal cruelty, two charges for each animal.
Dog Flea Shampoo and Vaccinations
The rescuers arrived at the house with what they thought were sufficient supplies to cope with the number of dogs that they might find. These included dog carriers, flea shampoo, flea treatments and vaccinations. But they weren’t expecting to find as many as 276 dogs and ran out of vaccinations after they had rescued the first 80 animals. This was the worst case of hoarding that the area’s officials had ever seen.
The Handricks could be a major trouble financially as the charges against them may result in a fine of up to $552,000. They could also receive a custodial sentence. They were visibly distressed during the rescue operation with Charlene describing the dogs as her family. Neighbours said that she had not been seen leaving the home for five years. The couple originally owned just eight dogs but they were not neutered and so the canine population of the house soon began to escalate out of control.
276 dogs and more than 20 puppies! That is a lot of dog flea shampoo, flea treatments and medications for the animal charity to finance. It seems inconceivable that anyone could allow such a situation to develop and do nothing about it. It is an extremely sad story but hopefully one with many happy endings when the rescued dogs find loving new homes.