BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Seven dogs, including several puppies, remain at Hernando County Animal Services after being rescued from a locked storage unit on Tuesday.
An anonymous caller contacted the sheriff’s office about the dogs in the unit in the area of Hale Avenue and Dr. MLK Jr. Boulevard. Deputies were able to get inside the padlocked unit using bolt cutters.
Hernando County Animal Services does not believe the dogs were left inside the un-ventilated unit without food or much water for long because they are in good condition.
“They all checked out good. Obviously, we haven’t run bloodwork or gotten anything back like that but there is nothing visibly wrong with them and they actually had some weight on them and etc. So that’s why we feel like they weren’t there very long,” said Animal Services Manager James Terry.
Animal Services agreed to keep the four adult dogs and three puppies for a week, then re-evaluate. Terry explained that the timeframe is to give people time to come forward and hopefully identify the person the animals belong to.
He said some of the dogs may go out to foster homes to get them out of the shelter environment, particularly the puppies, so they can receive more one-on-one care.
“But when they’re in our approved fosters by the Hernando County Animal Services, then we have access to them for people to view and identify them. ‘Cause right now we don’t know who owns them,” he explained.
Denise Moloney, a representative for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, reiterated that the owner of the storage facility will not be facing charges because the dogs are not his.
The sheriff’s office is receiving tips after releasing photos and videos of the dogs.
“Take a good look at those dogs and see if you recognize them. If you recognize them from maybe seeing them in someone’s yard, the adult dogs or the puppies, if you’ve seen them on a Facebook site or some sort of a social media site for sale,” Moloney said. “Because I’m sure they’ve put them out there somehow and we don’t know why they put them in that hot, closed up storage unit. We don’t have any idea why anybody would do that.”
The case is being investigated as an animal cruelty and animal neglect case but Terry explained the timing of when the dogs were abandoned could be a factor.
“If there’s a circumstance where they were [there] literally five minutes before somebody called, that’s a whole lot different than [if] they had been there for two days and what the circumstances were,” he said.
Anyone with any information regarding the owner of these dogs is asked to contact Deputy Steve George with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at 352-754-6830. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-990-8477 to be eligible for a reward.