Over 100 Dogs Rescued from Hoarding Situation in Alabama Get Second Chance Thanks to Shelters

The Greater Birmingham Humane Society helped the Walker County Sheriff's Department remove over 100 neglected dogs from a hoarding situation and got the pets on the road to recovery

Birmingham Rescue Dogs
Photo: Stephanie Salvago

Over 100 dogs are working on their recovery so they can find their forever homes after a massive rescue in Alabama.

According to The Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS), which assisted in the rescue of the canines and provided treatment to the pets, "the dogs were rescued because they were victims of a hoarding situation."

"Two Alabama men, who are currently in custody facing multiple counts of animal cruelty, were reported to the Walker County Sheriff's Department. After offering multiple opportunities to the men to provide better conditions for the animals, they determined that the animals needed to be removed from the property as soon as possible and placed in a healthy environment," Stephanie Salvago, the director of marketing for GBHS, told PEOPLE.

The Walker County Sheriff's Department and Walker County Humane Society contacted GBHS for assistance with removing the dogs from the property because the GBHS "has the largest shelter hospital in the state of Alabama as well as a veterinary team who is trained to provide emergency care in disaster and criminal situations."

"We were able to determine the health of the animals while keeping records that will be used in the criminal investigation and trial. Once it became clear that the number of animals was too great for any shelter to accommodate, the GBHS also offered to place the animals in three of our locations and provide continued medical care," Salvago said about how GBHS cared for the neglected dogs.

Birmingham Rescue Dogs
Stephanie Salvago

GBHS reached out to their own partner, the BISSELL Pet Foundation, after learning how many dogs needed help.

"We are very lucky to have partners across the country like the Bissell Pet Foundation, the Animal Rescue Corps, and Greater Good who can reach out to volunteers and shelters to assist with the resources necessary to take these animals and help with their rehabilitation and specialized health needs. We were able to keep some at our shelter, but neither GBHS nor Walker County Humane Society have the space for more than 100 special needs dogs and puppies. Getting them in healthy permanent placements is the goal, and we thank our partners for stepping up for these poor dogs and getting them on a path of recovery and into loving homes," Allison Black Cornelius, CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, said.

BISSELL Pet Foundation is using their emergency relief aid to transfer many of the rescued dogs to shelter partners — including Atlanta Humane, Humane Society of Charlotte, Humane Society of Tulsa, Belleville Area Humane Society, and Lexington Humane Society — that have the space and specialized vet services the dogs need to thrive.

"BISSELL Pet Foundation is here to help when shelters are in crisis," Cathy Bissell, founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation, said in a statement. "We are proud to support Greater Birmingham Humane Society in the placement of these dogs and will continue to assist with their remaining shelter population. Thank you to our dedicated shelter and rescue partners who have stepped up to save lives."

Birmingham Rescue Dogs
Stephanie Salvago

Many of the dogs pulled from the hoarding situation in Alabama require specialized care before they are ready for adoption because of their poor health.

"The majority of the dogs examined at the scene were severely malnourished, suffering from bacterial infections, parasites, and injured," Salvago said.

"When we arrived on the scene, some of the smaller dogs were freezing and literally jumping into our arms. These animals were rescued from deplorable conditions, and many require long-term health and behavioral assistance before they will be able to be adopted," Black Cornelius added.

GBHS staff found dogs at the hoarding situation outside in pens and chained up in freezing weather. Over 40 dogs were crammed in a house on the property, living in their own waste with no access to fresh air, food, or clean water, per GBHS.

Birmingham Rescue Dogs
Stephanie Salvago

The rescued dogs received vaccinations at the scene and were given flea and heartworm prevention medication. Since being removed from the hoarding situation and placed in shelters, the canines have been dewormed, taken medicated baths, received a grooming session, undergone behavioral evaluations and socialization sessions with people and animals. The pets are also being fed special diets to regain healthy body weights. Some animals are receiving specialized care, including one dog who recently began hydrotherapy to regain some mobility in her rear legs.

"The dogs are doing great now! They are benefitting from being in a stable and safe environment. Many of the dogs are going to some of our partner shelters across the country, but a few will remain local and be up for adoption once they have regained their health and been spay/neutered," Salvago shared.

"Right now, the majority of the dogs still have some time before they will be up for adoption and heading to their forever homes. They still have some healing to do," she added.

Birmingham Rescue Dogs
Stephanie Salvago

Salvago hopes this tragic case that GBHS is working to give a happy ending reminds animal lovers that "if you see something say something."

"If you think that there is an animal in danger or living in unfit conditions, please call your local shelter and report it. The mission of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society has been the same since 1883 — to promote the humane treatment of people and animals through education, advocacy, and services. Due to misinformation, people sometimes are nervous to call shelters for fear that the animals will not be given a chance, but that is simply not true. We are here to be of service to both people and animals and ensure that they have the best life possible," she said.

Those looking to help the over one hundred dogs recovering right now can donate to the canines' care on GBHS.org.

Related Articles