FORT WALTON BEACH — Local animal control officials continue to fight for ownership of 24 animals taken from a boarding facility in Niceville while starting the process to find new homes for 80 others.
But many of the animals taken from Danny's Doghouse in Niceville last month had medical issues that still need to be resolved, according to Dee Thompson, director of the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society.
Fifty-nine of the pets need dental work, which is estimated to cost between $400 and $1,500 per animal. Some of the animals can barely chew, she said. Euthanizing the animals was not an option, she added.
"It's a long process," she said of bringing the animals back to health. "It's expensive."
The 80 animals that were surrendered are available for adoption, but Thompson said new owners are being carefully screened.
She said the State Attorney's Office still has open investigations into the boarding facility and a house in Crestview where a number of dead animals were found earlier in March. The renter of the house is related to the owner of the boarding facility.
"We are continuing to investigate the situation at both Danny's Doghouse and the residence in north Crestview," said Bill Bishop, chief assistant state attorney Bill Bishop for Okaloosa County. "There are still several matters that are being looked into to determine whether charges are appropriate."
Thompson said many of the animals were microchipped, although not all of the chips lead to recent owners. She said it was not clear how some of the animals came to be at Danny's Doghouse.
"We're being very careful about who is getting them," she said.
PAWS is taking donations to help pay for the surrendered animals' dental care.