Dozens of Underweight Dogs With Skin Infections Seized by Animal Control

Animal services have seized more than 70 dogs, many of which were in poor condition, from a home in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

Authorities gave the owner of the property in Gulf Breeze—who used to run dog rescue center—a notice to comply and on Monday they surrendered the dogs to animal control.

Santa Rosa County Animal Services officials said the dogs were being kept in unsuitable living conditions.

"They were in unfit cages and kennels that were not clean and cared for," Santa Rosa County Animal Services director Megan Arevalo told ABC-affiliated TV station WEAR.

Animal control was not able to remove the dogs immediately because their shelter was full, so they temporarily kept the dogs outside the property.

Officials said most of the dogs were underweight and suffering from skin infections.

Brandi Winkleman, a member of the HOPE Animal Welfare Organization, told WEAR that the dogs are "not in the greatest shape."

"They are underweight and have some skin dermatitis going on," she said.

After seizing the dogs, officials subsequently moved them to Santa Rosa County's Agriplex Center where space was made available for one week.

The dogs are being kept in donated kennels and are being looked after by more than 20 volunteers from eight different animal rescue groups.

"The intake process involves physical examination, behavioral assessment, updated shots, basic testing and more," a spokesperson for Santa Rosa County told Newsweek. "Volunteers on site are helping make sure the dogs are fed and shown as much attention as possible which includes treats and walks. The dogs start out in a dog run to help with decompression and then move to a kennel inside the exhibit hall."

Santa Rosa County Animal Services is asking members of the public to provide a foster home for any of the animals that have been seized. The organization is also asking people to adopt from their animal shelter in order to make room for the seized dogs.

"Adopt, foster, get our rescues back involved," Arevalo said.

🌞 Good morning from our rescued pups!🙋🏼‍♀️ 🙋‍♂️ Many people have asked how they can help support the shelter during this tremendous undertaking. Here...

In the meantime, animal rescue groups from several states are working to find homes for the dogs.

The former owner of the dogs could face animal cruelty charges pending the results of an investigation that is currently underway.

Arevalo said she did not characterize the incident as animal hoarding situation, saying the owner of the dogs had previously tried to help animals but got to the point where they were no longer able to care for them properly.

"If you don't spay and neuter... if you don't have responsible pet owners, then we're gonna end up back in these bad situations," she said.

In a Facebook post, Santa Rosa County Animal Services said they were "thankful" that the Gulf Breeze resident had cooperated with them to provide the dogs with a better chance of finding a new home.

This is why we need the community’s help to foster and adopt dogs at our shelter. We are in the process of intaking 70+ dogs from a community member in...

"We only have a few open kennels at the shelter right now due to taking in close to 20 animals from a different situation over the weekend. The work of an animal shelter never stops and we are determined to provide the best possible care and best possible chance of adoption for every animal that enters our care," animal services said in the post.

"The shelter is actively working with rescues all over the United States to pull dogs from this intake as well as from our shelter. It takes a village and we can't thank the community, volunteers and our partners enough for helping us with this tremendous undertaking!"

The Santa Rosa County spokesperson told Newsweek the shelter would benefit from fosters taking available dogs for two to three weeks, as well as rescue partners who could pull dogs to open kennel space.

"Fosters are given all the resources needed to care for the animal such as vet care, food and any medication required," the spokesperson said.

Visit www.santarosa.fl.gov/727/Foster-Program for more information on the foster program.

Earlier this February, authorities seized more than 150 dogs from an alleged "puppy mill" in Pickens County, South Carolina.

Pickens County Animal Enforcement deputies found several dogs living in "poor conditions." The owner of the property has been charged with two counts of ill treatment of animals and one count of rabies control violation.

Update 02/28/22, 9:20 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comments from a Santa Rosa County spokesperson, and to include a new image.

Dog seized from Santa Rosa County home
One of the dogs seized by animal services from a home in Santa Rosa County, Florida. Santa Rosa County