Almost Two Dozen Dogs Rescued After Owners Lost Home and Kept Them in Shed

Almost two dozen dogs have been rescued in Massachusetts after their owners lost their home and resorted to keeping some of them in a shed.

Animal welfare organization MSPCA said in a press release they were called to the house in Worcester County on March 7 after the owners realized the situation was untenable, and they could no longer fully care for the animals. Nine of the 23 dogs were being kept in the shed in a desperate attempt by the owners to keep a roof over their heads.

They were taken to the MSPCA shelter at Nevins Farm near Methuen.

The dogs were all a Yorkie-Chihuahua mix, and ranged in age from one to 16-years-old. A video posted to Facebook after the rescue shows the dogs in a pen, as a rescuer greets them.

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A video of the dogs after the rescue was posted to Facebook

Many of the dogs were undersocialized "owing to the conditions in which there were kept," the MSPCA said.

If dogs are not properly socialized, they can become scared and anxious of new situations. Some under-socialized dogs may become aggressive and have other behavioral problems.

The MSPCA said once these dogs eventually go up for adoption they will need "very patient owners." The rescuers recently undertook behavioral and health evaluation of the dogs, to determine which might need specialized care after they leave.

After the rescue, the MSPCA found a few dogs had dental issues, however, they were in "fine health" overall.

"This is a case where the situation grew out of control and left [the previous owners] with little recourse but to ask for our help, which we will always extend to people and animals in need," MSPCA Nevins Farm Director, Meaghan O'Leary said in a press release. "Now that the dogs are in our care, we're going to do everything possible to ready them for new homes as soon as we can."

Even though the dogs will need to be medically evaluated, spayed and neutered before finding new homes, O'Leary said they are keen to "line up adopters now" as this was a "fairly large" number of dogs to take in all at once.

This rescue came just weeks after 32 cats were found suffering with severe, untreated infections, living at a home in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. The owners surrendered the cats to the MSPCA after becoming overwhelmed and unable to care for them.

Medical exams found that nearly all the cats were suffering from upper respiratory infections, ear mites and periodontal disease.

Over the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinarians were concerned that pets may miss out on the care they need. Many families in the U.S. fell upon hard times, making it harder for them to care for pets.

During lockdown, there were fewer spay and neuter opportunities for pets and the sheltering system slowed down, making it more difficult for overwhelmed owners to surrender their animals.

Dog rescue
A photo shows a rescue dog. Almost two dozen dogs have been rescued in Massachusetts after their owners lost their home and resorted to keeping some of them in a shed. Joe Raedle/Getty Images