ALEXANDRIA, Ind. –Madison County authorities say they’re dealing with one of the worst cases of animal hoarding they’ve ever seen. Eighteen Shih-Tzus and Rat Terrier mixes were taken from a home in Alexandria on Saturday, and the sheriff’s office says conditions in the home were deplorable.
The sheriff’s office said those dogs are dealing with range of ailments, and one was in such bad shape it had to be put down. Now, the shelter that took them in needs help caring for them.
“They’re matted. They’re flea-infested. They’re afraid here in the shelter,” said Maleah Stringer of the Animal Protection League.
“One was so bad we had to euthanize it as soon as it got here,” said Stringer. “It was paralyzed. It had open wounds. It was basically rotting from the waist down.”
Authorities said feces were spread around inside the home, with mold growing on the walls. The sheriff said the smell of ammonia was so powerful that two deputies had to get treatment for exposure.
Warning: Some of the photos below are graphic.
But one of the dogs’ owners said they were not abusive.
“We didn’t abuse them, never,” said Kenneth Stokes, who lives in the home with his ex-wife. “We did the best we could to take care of them.”
He said there were other factors which led to the conditions in the home.
“She’s [Stokes’ ex-wife] got declining heath and I worked all the time so things got out of hand,” said Stokes.
The case has now pushed the Animal Protection League to its limit.
“We’re already full,” said Stringer. “We’re overwhelmed as it is. We’re overwhelmed on a daily basis.”
They think each dog needs about $250 just to cover basic veterinary care. It’s money the shelter is now trying to find, along with volunteers willing to help.
“We do want fosters, so if you’re an experienced foster you can put in an application for that as well,” said Stringer.
They’ve set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the medical and care costs. The Madison County Sheriff said the dogs’ owners could face charges, but that decision will be up to the county prosecutor.
If you'd like to donate to the GoFundMe, click here.