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Hundreds of animals found in ‘deplorable’ conditions on Habersham property

POSTED: April 14, 2017 5:19 p.m.
Courtesy Humane Society of the United States/

Dogs sit in a dirty cage in a Habersham County property that was raided Thursday by the Habersham County Department of Animal Care and Control with the support of several agencies, including the Gainesville-based Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.

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HABERSHAM COUNTY -- More than 350 animals are being confiscated from a Habersham County property in an animal hoarding rescue involving multiple humane societies and animal control agencies.

The animals were discovered Thursday, and now some 260 dogs and a large number of cats and livestock are being retrieved from what have been described as “deplorable” conditions. The work is led by the Habersham County Department of Animal Care and Control and the Gainesville-based Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, the national Humane Society of the United States and several other organizations.

“This is a heartbreaking situation, and it’s not an easy task to be present to witness this kind of cruelty,” said Madi Hawkins, director of Habersham County animal control, in an announcement.

The announcement from the Humane Society of the United States described deplorable living conditions for the animals on the property, including “living in filth and inches of feces and without access to clean water.”

Julie Edwards, director of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, has been helping to remove the animals, along with six of her employees. She told the Times on Friday that criminal charges are in the works from Habersham animal control.

Animals are being taken to an emergency shelter at the Habersham County Fairgrounds where they’re being examined by veterinarians, according to the announcement.

Responders have been at the scene for more than 24 hours. The location of the property isn’t being disclosed while the investigation is ongoing.

The livestock pulled from the property include donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, doves, bunnies, a horse and an alpaca.

Those interested in helping can give cash donations designated for the Habersham rescue effort to the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, Edwards said, noting that designated donations will only be used for that specific work. Donations also can be sent directly to Habersham County animal control.

People can also take adult and puppy kibble — small kibble sizes are best, Edwards said — kennel liners and pads to the society’s office at 845 West Ridge Road.

Edwards was driving to Habersham County on Friday and said her “SUV is packed to the brim with food” bound for the dogs rescued from the property.

It will likely be weeks before any of the animals involved in the rescue are available for adoption, Edwards said.

“We’ll continue to update as we know things, but it’s probably going to be a while,” she said. “We still don’t even have all of the animals off of the property.”



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