Afraid for their children and pets, neighbors in a Calhoun County community reached out to Fighting For You for help. One of their neighbors passed away more than a month ago, leaving 30 plus dogs behind on the small lot. The property is in horrible condition on Arika Lane between Ohatchee and Alexandria.
The Cheaha Humane Society says it has removed as many dogs as it can with sheriff's deputies assisting. There were five still on the property Thursday night. We're told one dead dog remains in the house. Yesterday we saw a dead dog behind the home.
Many in the community are asking why they have had to plead for help for so long and the situation is not resolved. Left on their own the dogs are becoming more aggressive. A pack mentality has taken over.
"Ten of them charged me on my back porch. I had to run them out of the yard," says a worried Juanita Hollingsworth who lives next door. She said at one point the homeowner, David Hunsucker, had more than 30 dogs on his small lot. He died in November and things have gotten worse.
"What happens when these dogs get a hold of little kids?" she asks. They've already gotten a hold of pets. At least one pet is dead and another is recovering from an attack. Neighbors showed us video of the dogs jumping out of their fenced in yard during the day to get out and roam the neighborhood.
Fighting For You began making calls to the county to find out why the situation was not being adequately addressed. We wanted to question the county commissioner over this district, Tim Hodges, but he did not return our calls. Neither did the judge who heard Hunsucker's animal cruelty case prior to his death.
Over the past few days, the Cheaha Humane Society, which has the county's animal control contract, has been putting a sedative in the dog food so they can capture the dogs. Jane Cunningham says they have to walk a fine legal line.
"I cannot go on people's property. That is trespassing. Animals are considered property, it would be no different than me taking their t.v. I have to work with law enforcement in these situations," Cunningham explained.
She says she's just as frustrated as neighbors. She says when the owner was called to court on animal abuse charges last year, action should have been taken. The dogs didn't have their shots and diseases can spread easily among so many in such close quarters. "The property, I would hate that being next to me. It's horrible," remarked Cunningham.
Cunningham says the county has given Hunsucker's daughter a set amount of time to clean the property up and take care of the remaining dogs or the county will do it for her and put a lien on the property.
The rescued dogs are being cared for at the humane society. It will have to be determined if they are suitable for adoption. The rescues include a litter of puppies. The shelter is near capacity and can't handle more animals.
Cunningham says there needs to be stricter laws statewide to head of these hoarding situations and allow agencies to deal with them so the animals don't suffer so much along with neighbors who put up with horrible cases.