Nearly 100 dogs, cats rescued from large-scale cruelty situation in Mississippi

On the outside, it appeared to be a well-maintained property in Jones County, Mississippi, with several buildings, a neatly mowed lawn and pine trees scattered around 161 sprawling acres of land. But what our Animal Rescue Team and local law enforcement officials from the Jones County Sheriff’s Department found when they entered some of the buildings on the property today was shocking.

Locked inside crates were dozens of emaciated dogs and cats, including some who were sick. Many of the animals were covered in fleas and appeared to suffer from a lack of veterinary care. The place was filthy and disgusting.

Many of the animals were covered in fleas and appeared to suffer from a lack of veterinary care. The place was filthy and disgusting. Photo by Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

Four of the dogs had to be transported out of the property immediately for urgent medical care. Altogether, our team removed approximately 65 dogs and 30 cats from the property.

The Animal Rescue Team of the Humane Society of the United States has conducted hundreds of such rescues over the years, and they’ve seen some terrible instances of animal suffering and neglect. Yet each time, they tell me, they are shocked anew by the suffering of animals trapped in difficult situations from which they have no escape. Thankfully, this day was going to be different.

“It was a heart-wrenching scene and I am happy we were called in to assist. We are always eager to offer animals relief and expert care,” said Sára Varsa, vice president of the Animal Rescue Team, who was on site for the rescue today.

Among today’s rescues are approximately 30 cats. Photo by Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

The Jones County Sheriff’s Department contacted us for help after representatives of Southern Cross Animal Rescue, a local organization based in nearby Laurel, Mississippi, raised concerns about the welfare of animals on the property. As Sheriff Alex Hodge stated to our staff, “Our pets are our family and deserve a healthy atmosphere. Situations like these, though this particular incident seems quite massive, are more than unfortunate, they are unfair and unnecessary.”

Dr. Kirk Frazier from All Animals Veterinary Clinic examines one of the dogs rescued today. Photo by Kevin Wolf/AP Images for the HSUS

Dr. Kirk Frazier from All Animals Veterinary Clinic provided medical care for the animals at the site. The animals are being transported to a temporary emergency shelter in a nearby location, where they will be thoroughly examined and will receive veterinary medical treatment. Responders from RedRover, an organization that specializes in providing help to animals in crisis situations, will assist in the caretaking of the animals at the temporary shelter. A generous donation has been made by the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust to support the expert care and supplies needed for the rescued animals.

This is an open investigation and we will share what we can in the coming days. As Sára said, “Tonight in our temporary shelter, we hope the animals get some rest. In the morning, there is a new day ahead of them.”

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