FREEPORT — Alaqua Animal Rescue has taken in more than 30 dogs after Washington County Animal Control officers took the dogs from a home in a hoarding case.
Laurie Hood, founder and president of Alaqua, said the refuge received a call Thursday morning from animal control for immediate assistance with what they believed at the time to be about 40 dogs that looked "severely neglected."
Hood said several of them were found in critical condition.
"I would say half of them are in pretty poor shape," Hood said. "The owner was only able to feed them with items from her garden, which I hear was very minimal anyways.
"They were starving."
Hood said she was unsure whether the homeowner would be criminally charged.
All the adult dogs and puppies were surrendered by the homeowner and brought to Alaqua for treatment and care.
One of the puppies died shortly after arriving at the refuge, one adult dog is in critical condition and another puppy has continuous seizures and is not expected to survive, Hood said.
"They're all really cute," Hood said. "They kinda look like little Chihuahua dingos. I'm hoping that once they're healthy, that the community will open up their homes to these little guys and give them a second chance."
For now, Hood said a timeline for when the dogs will be up for adoption won't come until after they've been examined and treated.
The refuge is asking for volunteers. Hood said it is overcrowded because Alaqua still has dogs from the March seizure of Danny's Doghouse in Niceville.
"We were completely at capacity when we got the call, but we knew how important it was to get these dogs to safety," Hood said.
Volunteers are needed to help with the existing dogs.
Along with volunteers, Hood said donations are welcomed because all of the dogs will require extensive medical care like heart-worm treatment, which could cost hundreds of dollars per dog.
Donations can be made at https://www.alaqua.org/how-to-help/wc/. Contributions such as linens and sheets are also welcomed.