“I’ve never seen conditions this bad in more than 21 years of law enforcement. Words cannot describe the absolute abhorrent conditions these animals were living in.”
That’s a statement from Police Chief Dean Rondeau of the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Police Department on Friday, June 16, when more than 80 Great Danes were allegedly found living in squalid and cruel conditions, according to the Huffington Post.
A press release from the Humane Society of the United States says the organization worked with the police department to investigate claims of animal neglect. When rescuers arrived to the dilapidated mansion, they allegedly discovered 84 dogs living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, with limited access to food and water. Many of the pups’ eyes were red and swollen, they were sliding in their own feces, and the location reeked of ammonia, raw chicken and excrement, the statement alleges.
The owner of the residence and suspected puppy mill was charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal neglect, while police, animal control officers and rescue staff freed dogs from cages. The rescues included nine puppies and scores of adult dogs, many believed to be pregnant. The dogs were allegedly frightened, starving and suffering from various kinds of infections. One Conway Area Humane Society staff member on the scene said the conditions were “disturbing,” adding, “My heart is broken for these dogs.”
According to police, the owner was allegedly selling the puppies for $2,500 each and advertised them on a website where the dogs posed in photos in front of an elegant mansion. A representative from De La Sang Monde Great Danes told PEOPLE in a Facebook message, “All I have to [say] is that TV stories never reflect the real truth. I love my dogs and I feed them. All of this was a TV show. I will prove that. Having more than 70 dogs is equal to lots of poo and [urine.] We have to clean every day… police arrive in my house before all the clean work, that is the reason why they found my place with poo and [urine]. That is all I have to [say].”
Currently the rescued pups are being held at a separate rescue center, getting veterinary attention and medical care. In a Facebook post, the Wolfeboro Police Department recommended contacting the Conway Area Humane Society for more information about the dogs.
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An investigation into the dogs’ alleged neglect and abuse is still ongoing, and the animals will remain police evidence until the conclusion of the case.
In May, the Humane Society of the United States announced its list of the ‘Horrible Hundred’ worst alleged puppy mill offenders in the country. For the complete list, click here. Concerned animal lovers can make a donation towards helping dog and other needy or mistreated pets through the Humane Society’s donation page: humanesociety.org/rescueteam.