29 Starving Dogs and Puppies Rescued From Virginia Home

Almost 30 starving dogs and puppies have been saved from a home in Virginia. The owner was arrested and charged with 10 counts of animal neglect.

Police in Bedford County said Tuesday they had received tip offs from the Central Virginia Crime Stoppers and Humane Society about the possible hoarding and mistreatment of animals at an address in the Goodview area of Bedford.

When Animal Control officers with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office arrived at the property, they found approximately 26 dogs living in squalid conditions and badly malnourished.

The Sheriff's Office posted images of the operation to Facebook that showed emaciated dogs with their skeletons clearly visible.

The dogs appeared to a be a range of ages, from young puppies to fully grown dogs.

During the operation police managed to locate all the animals and take them away from the address and to places of safety, including an animal rescue shelter in the county.

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The Sheriff's Office said they had charged a 71-year-old man, Thomas Duggins, with 10 counts of animal neglect. Animal cruelty offences can be considered a Class 1 misdemeanour or Class 6 felony in Virginia. The police said that the investigation was ongoing and that more charges could be added in the future.

Bedford County Sheriff's Office thanked several organizations and people for their help in the rescue, including Ryan at Bedford Veterinary Clinic who worked with them on the operation, and the non-profit Friends of Bedford Animal Shelter.

Police urged anyone who wanted to help the animals rescued to contact the group, which is now taking care of the dogs and seeking to rehome them.

The Friends of Bedford Animal Shelter said the lives of all the dogs found at the property had been saved and they could now look forward to a better future.

They said they were working to rehome 29 dogs. "The shelter is at full capacity already and we are busy working with local rescues and potential adopters to place animals," the shelter said in a Facebook post. "It will be awhile before the dogs from today's case are ready for adoption. We will post them on the page as they become available."

Data from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) showed there are over 76 million pet dogs in the U.S., with 38.4 per cent of households (over 48 million homes) owning a mean average of 1.6 dogs per household.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said that approximately 6.3 million animals enter shelters in the U.S. every year, with around 3.1 million of those animals believed to be dogs.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the National Incident-Based Reporting System reported 3,200 cases of animal cruelty in the U.S. in 2017, the AVMA said.

Dogs rescued from Virginia home
Images posted by Bedford County Police show two of the dogs rescued by police and animal workers during the operation. A 71-year-old was arrested suspected of animal neglect. Beford County Sherriff's Office/Facebook