More than 350 animals found in ‘inches of feces’

More than 350 animals are now safe after they were found living in “inches of feces” and without access to clean water in Habersham County.

The animals — including a horse, dogs and puppies, cats, donkeys, pigs, chickens and ducks — were in need of urgent veterinary care, according to The Humane Society of the United States.

Habersham County Animal Care and Control officials received a barking complaint and did a wellness check before they served a search and seizure warrant about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

That’s when they found the animals in cages lined with torn and dirtied newspapers.

Some of the them had matted fur, skin issues and rotting teeth, according to the Humane Society. Officials have not specified where in Habersham County the animals were found.

Madi Hawkins, director of Habersham County Animal Care and Control, called the situation “heartbreaking.”

“We never expected to discover something of this magnitude in our own backyard,” she said.

The dogs, cats, bunnies and birds are being taken to a temporary emergency animal shelter to be evaluated and treated.

Horses and farm animals are being taken to another organization called Horse Inc.

Cornerstone Animal Hospital, Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement, PAWS Bryson City and various branches of the Humane Society assisted in the rescue.

“No animal should be forced to live in conditions like we’ve seen,” said Jessica Lauginiger, manager of animal crimes for The Humane Society of the United States.