Homeowner had over 160 dogs on property

The Office of Animal Welfare’s enforcement unit, Delaware Animal Services, recently responded to a complaint of suspected animal cruelty in Georgetown.

DAS responded to the residence, which has also operated as a kennel, on Monday, July 23. Over 160 dogs were at the property, and officers observed unsanitary conditions and other violations and issued notices for corrective actions. The dogs involved include a variety of small dog breeds, such as pomeranians, shih-tzus, dachshunds, miniature poodles and pugs.

According to Jennifer Brestel, the acting chief of community relations for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the elderly homeowner agreed to reduce the number of dogs in her care, so that she could properly care for the remaining dogs on her property.

Over the next week, OAW shelter partner Brandywine Valley SPCA worked with the homeowner to address medical and grooming concerns involving the dogs on the property. The homeowner voluntarily relinquished 58 dogs to BVSPCA, while the BVSPCA provided medical care for 103 dogs that remained on the property. Later, the homeowner asked that four of the dogs taken by the BVSPCA be returned, and they obliged.

A team of 15 BVSPCA medical and animal personnel, including two veterinarians, spent more than eight hours at the property on Saturday, August 4. All dogs received age-appropriate vaccinations, heartworm testing, deworming, and flea/tick treatment, as well as triage for imminent medical conditions as needed.

The dogs now in the care of the BVSPCA are mostly adults, ranging in age up to seniors. Some are expected to be ready for adoption later this week, and others will require a longer timeframe to be ready for adoption. More information is available at bvspca.org.

The case is an open and ongoing investigation. Brestel said OAW will be following up to confirm corrections have been made for the remaining dogs in her care, and will closely monitor the property to ensure the well-being of the animals.

OAW does not confirm the identity of individuals or specific addresses involved in an investigation unless criminal charges are filed and an arrest is made. Thus far, no charges have been filed.