70 animals removed from home in what Florida sheriff calls “rescue turned hoarder” situation

70 animals removed from home in what Florida sheriff calls “rescue turned hoarder” situation
These photos from the Union County Sheriff's Office were taken at the scene of what they describe as a "rescue turned hoarder" situation. (Source: Union County Sheriff's Office)

LAKE BUTLER, Fla. (AP/WWSB) - Deputies says they’ve removed about 70 dogs and other animals from a north Florida rescue group because of inhumane conditions.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook last week that deputies and animal control officers executed a search warrant earlier this month on February 4th at a rural home off CR18 in what they describe as a “rescue turned hoarder” situation.

Animal control officers had responded to the home in January following concerns over the animals’ conditions. The sheriff’s office says investigators found animals suffering from untreated medical conditions, with some exhibiting severe signs of neglect, that were housed in “grossly unsanitary conditions."

A group called Guardians of Rescue assisted deputies with removing the animals from the property and collecting evidence, including exhumation of remains and urgent medical care for the most critical cases.

“This is a most egregious case, where animals entrusted to so-called rescuers were confined in unsanitary wire cages, stacked upon one another, living in their own excrement. Untreated medical conditions lead to infection, loss of limbs, and horrendous suffering,” said Lea Moore, Georgia State Director of Operations for Guardians of Rescue. “We greatly appreciate the motivation and immense dedication demonstrated by the Union County Sheriff’s Office, investigators, and animal control staff to protect these animals and bring to justice those responsible for the house of horrors.”

The sheriff’s office says the case is complicated because it crosses the state line in Georgia with more than 30 of the animals owned by Dragon Paws Rescue, a rescue licensed in Georgia that operates in Georgia, Florida and Virginia. The rescue’s license has been suspended and the sheriff’s office says the investigation will lead to criminal charges.

UCSO AND GUARDIANS OF RESCUE REMOVE 70 ANIMALS FROM UNION COUNTY, FL. In January 2020, UCSO and Union County Animal...

Posted by Union County Sheriff's Office on Friday, February 21, 2020

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