Rescue removes more than 75 dogs from Mingo County property

Rescue crews were on the property for two days removing and examining the dogs.
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 1:57 AM EST
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THACKER, W.Va. (WSAZ) - An animal rescue organization removed more than 75 dogs from a property in Thacker, West Virginia over the course of two days.

James Houtchins works for field operations for Guardians of Rescue, a non profit that rescues dogs from puppy mills or cruel and unlivable situations.

The rescue crew was contacted by a local Mingo County animal rescue when the homeowner passed away a week ago when and no one could care for the animals.

“All dogs were located outside, 80 percent of these dogs were chained up,” said Houtchins.

The homeowner decided to care for the dogs that she came across, or were dropped off at her home, because she wanted to help the local shelter.

“In this situation, the lady was concerned about the shelter not having the resources so a lot of times where she was located people would throw the dogs from the top of the hill,” said Houtchins. “The dogs would roll down the hill, she would care for them and get them better.”

The rescue crew contacted the Mingo Sheriff Office and Mingo County Animal Control in order to help remove the animals.

For two days, the rescue group found some dogs chained to trees and sticks and some roaming in a flood plain unable to escape the elements.

“Once some of these dogs were examined by a vet last night some of them have issues with their hearts, several have been overbreed, several have tumors, large tumors,” said Houtchins.

Houtchins said the dogs were found fed but without access to clean water.

“Most of them did not have access to clean water, it was kind of green--slimy,” said Houtchins.

The organization will not charge the county for their removal and all dogs will be examined by a vet and transported to foster homes for recovery and socialization.

“You know-- if you see something, say something. These people contacted us because they saw the news story from Tennessee,” said Houtchins.

Houtchins said they have removed about 600 dogs from puppy mills and other uninhabitable situations.

Urgent in West Virginia for 70+ dogs— Over 70 dogs, many chained, are being removed from this property right this...

Posted by Guardians of Rescue on Sunday, January 24, 2021

Guardians of Rescue encourages those who see maltreatment of animals to reach out for help.

The rescue will reach out to local authorities for further investigation.

No charges will be brought to the family at this time. They signed a mutual agreement to allow Guardians of Rescue on the property to take ownership of the dogs and remove them.

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