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22 rescued dogs in north Forsyth find forever homes

NORTH FORSYTH — Saturday began at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter with 26 dogs without a forever home after being rescued from what authorities described as deplorable conditions at a mobile home in north Forsyth at the beginning of February.

By the end of the day, all 12 puppies and 10 of the 14 adult dogs had been adopted by various people and families, according to Jodi Gardner, spokeswoman for the county government.

“There’s the four adults left plus the three dogs that weren’t ready for adoption — two are still timid and one who recently gave birth to puppies,” Gardner said.

Once the new puppies are old enough to have gone through examination and necessary shots, they too will be put up for adoption.

The dogs, including the remaining ones, are all variations of Chihuahua, Jack Russel terrier and Corgi mixes.

All have been spayed or neutered and have received rabies vaccinations and microchips.

They have been housed at the animal shelter since February, when they were removed from a single-wide trailer on Franklin Goldmine Road.

Billy Ray Shirley, 59, was charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s animal control unit after he arrived at an area hospital “with complaints of stomach pains. Staff documented that he was covered in feces,” according to an incident report.

The hospital staff who called the sheriff’s office said there were “even dead cockroaches stuck in the feces.”

Shirley apparently explained he had more than 20 dogs in his home — though he was unsure exactly how many — and wanted to “find new homes for them.”

He said his backyard was missing a gate, so he could not let them out.

Executing a search warrant at the home, deputies initially found 27 Jack Russell terriers, one of which was dead. The puppies, thought to be 5 weeks old, were found on a bed.

Trash, broken furniture and feces could be seen in the yard and inside the home, according to the report.

Three more dogs were found the next day during a second search.

“We just want to thank everyone who helped get the word out to help these dogs find their forever homes,” Gardner said.

The animal shelter is at 4065 County Way. Hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.