Animal control officers were forced to wear protective gear when they responded to a complaint about abandoned animals Saturday.
“What we found was almost beyond belief,” said Shelter Director Joey Prince.
The home is just outside of Whiteville on New Britton Highway, Prince said, and the residents abandoned the house sometime in the past week. They left behind at least three dogs and four cats in horrible conditions, Prince said.
Due to the amount of feces, urine and insect infestation, officers had to wear personal protective equipment before entering the home.
“We are unsure of the exact amount of animals in the home, due to the amount of filth and debris in the home,” Prince said.
Officers were able to hear more creatures moving in the mounds of trash, he said, but “we are unsure if there is wildlife there or more domesticate animals located within the home.”
Some of the cats were seen but could not be caught, Prince said.
“We have no idea how many more may be in there. We have taken what we could see and have set traps for the rest. The smell in there is unbelievable,” he said.
Visually, the cats appear to be in marginal to very poor shape, Prince said. An adult dog appears to be healthy enough to survive, but the puppies are touch and go at this point.
All animals were covered in fleas and ticks, and the puppies appear to have a large amount of worms and other intestinal parasites.
Charges are pending in this case, and the investigation and trapping continued throughout the weekend and will go through the week until officials are confident all animals have been rescued.
Prince said the condition of the home was shocking, but he was proud of his workers.
“I highly commend my staff for entering such a place to save these pitiful animals,” he said. “There’s no excuse to allow anything to live in these conditions.”
To assist with veterinary bills for the dog, puppies and cats, call the shelter at 641.3945.