Fifty-three poodles, 60 parakeets, six donkeys and three canaries were rescued near Libby this week, and now the owners could be facing felony animal abuse charges.
Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe said more than 120 animals were rescued from a residence just outside of Libby on Aug. 2. Lincoln County Animal Care and Control and the Humane Society of the United States assisted with the operation after authorities received a tip from a concerned citizen that someone was selling puppies on Facebook.
Many of the animals were severely underweight and some were suffering from untreated eye, ear and dental infections.
“Sadly, the conditions we witnessed today are typical for commercial dog breeding facilities in Montana, since the state does not have any laws to regulate puppy mills,” said Wendy Hergenraeder, Montana state director for the Humane Society. “We’re thankful to the Lincoln County authorities for making sure these dogs and puppies will never go hungry again.”
Bowe said the conditions the animals were found in were among the worst he has ever seen. He said the sheriff’s office’s investigation has been sent to the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office, which will determine what charges will be filed against the owner.
Lincoln County Animal Care and Control will care for the animals until the case is resolved.
“I am relieved that we were able to come to the aid of these dogs,” Bowe said. “We have tried to work with the owner to ensure the proper care of the animals, but we reached the point that the animals had to be removed for their well-being.”
The Humane Society and PetSmart Charities are providing food, supplies and financial support to help Lincoln County authorities care for the animals for the time being.
“It’s been a long road to get to this day, but I’m relieved we were now able to provide these dogs the relief and care they deserve. We’re grateful to have the assistance of The HSUS in this endeavor, and we look forward to starting these animals on their new journey towards better lives,” said Lincoln County Animal Care and Control Supervisor Wendy Anderson.
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