Over 80 animals rescued following owner's death

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By: Erin Lisch | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 7, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- Almost 90 dogs and cats now rehabbing after they're rescued in Washington County this week.

68 dogs and 19 cats of all ages infested with fleas and left in declining health after their owner, a former Great Pyrenees breeder, passed away.

Several rescue organizations and shelters saving the animals from a house in Vernon, Florida - less than 100 miles from Tallahassee.

The animals, who have been sent across the east coast, are being nursed back to health.

The Alaqua Animal Refuge said the dogs were living in deplorable conditions.

Helping with the rescue, Shree Brown from Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue said, "They were all skinny and matted and dirty."

Amy Raddar of the Leon County Humane Society said, "This was probably one of the hardest one because there were so many dogs."

The refuge noted it was a major endeavor to rescue all 87 animals.

Brown added, "You're always surprised of what you see, no matter how mentally ready you think you are for something like that."

Some dogs, even carried out because of their poor health

Raddar said many of the dogs were difficult to take in because they have never had human interaction.

"When you looked in their eyes it was pure fear, and then not being able to communicate with them that we're there to help them. We're not there to hurt them."

Brown continued, "You always feel sympathy for the dogs and for the person who let it get to that situation."

Great Pyrenees mountain dogs are known to be majestic for their size and beauty.

"I was really in awe of them and I came out of there definitely having a fondness for that breed," said Raddar

An emotional sight of struggle but a sense of hope as they get a second chance at life.

They range in age from puppies to 8 years old. Once the dogs are healthy, they'll will be up for adoption.

Along with the refuge, 12 organizations are working with the rescue effort:

• The Humane Society of the United States
• The Lucky Puppy Rescue (Bonifay, FL)
• Florida State Animal Response Coalition
• Big Bend Disaster Animal Response Team (Tallahassee, FL)
• Great Pyrenees Club of America
• Tri-County Animal Rescue (Boca Raton, FL)
• Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (Nashville, TN)
• Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue (FL)
• Leon County Humane Society (Tallahassee, FL)
• Great Pyrenees Club of Western Pennsylvania Rescue (Pittsburgh, PA)
• Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (West Mifflin, PA
• Florida Great Pyrenees Rescue & Club (Lakeland, FL)

By: Erin Lisch | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 7, 2017

VERNON, Fla. (WCTV) -- Following the death of a pet owner in Washington County, 87 animals have been rescued by Alaqua Animal Refuge, with help form organizations in Tallahassee.

According to rescue teams, the owner used to breed the Great Pyrenees. And, as the health of their owner declined, the dogs also felt the impact.

The dogs were in an environment with uncontrolled breeding. Their fur was also matted and covered in fleas and ticks.

23 of the dogs and cats were taken to critical care.

Amy Raddar from the Leon County Humane Society helped on the scene, and say some of these dogs have never had human interaction in their life.

"There was a little mother-in-law suite on the property they had dug up and got under there. They didn’t know we were there to help them that was the sad thing," Raddar said. "We were trying to help them, but they didn't know that, so they were really scared."

12 different organizations, along with the refuge, lent a helping hand in the day-long rescue of the animals.

The rescue took a full week to plan out.

Once the animals go through rehab, they'll be up for adoption through the rescue groups that helped. In Florida, those organizations include The Lucky Puppy Rescue (Bonifay, Fla.), the Florida State Animal Response Coalition, the Big Bend Disaster Animal Response Team (Tallahassee), the Great Pyrenees Club of America, the Tri-County Animal Rescue (Boca Raton), Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue, the Leon County Humane Society and the Florida Great Pyrenees Rescue & Club (Lakeland).

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