DOVER – As friends and families were gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare officers were able to rescue 14 severely emaciated and neglected dogs from a Millsboro property. Delaware Animal Services (DAS), the state’s animal control and cruelty enforcement unit, received a tip regarding several neglected dogs, as well as dogs running loose in a wooded area.
Officers responded to capture the loose dogs, who were in poor condition, and to interview concerned residents about the state of the animals left on the property. Officers obtained a search warrant and upon entry, observed numerous emaciated dogs that needed immediate medical attention and four deceased dogs on the property. The property appeared to be neglected and there was no evidence of food or water for the animals.
“This is one of the worst neglect cases we have seen,” said Chief Mark Tobin, DAS investigative supervisor. “It was obvious that the dogs had not received any care in a long while, and the conditions in which they were kept was appalling.”
The dogs, many of which had injuries from trying to escape their confinement, parasites, and other advanced signs of neglect, were taken immediately to an emergency veterinary hospital for urgent care. Several dogs who were not confined had to be captured over a 24-hour period.
Officers worked through the holiday to capture and rescue all remaining dogs running loose on the property and collect evidence. “This case involved a tremendous amount of teamwork and we want to thank the Good Samaritans who first reported the case and the Sussex County Constable Office for assisting in the initial hours of the incident. We know the dogs are in good care now at Brandywine Valley SPCA,” said Chief Tobin.
Atwood Timmons II of Millsboro, was arrested on Nov. 25, 2016 without incident on 18 charges of animal cruelty and multiple other charges concerning housing, care, rabies vaccination, and dog licensing violations. Timmons was arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court 3 and unsecured bail was set at $60,000.
All dogs are receiving medical and rehabilitative care at the Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA). “These dogs will have a long road to recovery ahead of them,” says Adam Lamb, Chief Executive Officer of BVSPCA. “We are committed to providing individualized care to each one of them. That may mean extensive medical treatment for serious conditions associated with long-term neglect, psychological rehabilitation, or training to prepare them to live in a home environment. Whatever they need, we will provide it. If anyone would like to contribute to the animals’ rehabilitation and care, call Brandywine Valley SPCA at 302-516-1006.”
Upon examination, Lamb shared that many of the cases will need around-the-clock care and intensive therapy for heartworm. Additional diagnostic tests are being conducted on the dogs to get a better understanding of their condition and additional medical needs. Some cannot walk because of their poor state, but are alert and shelter medical staff are hopeful they will make a full recovery. Besides physical injuries, Lamb also noted that a number of the dogs are very fearful and will need weeks of structured socialization. The goal is that every dog finds the loving forever home that they deserve.
To report possible animal cruelty, contact the Delaware Animal Services 24-hour hotline at 302-255-4646. Delaware Animal Services enforces animal cruelty, animal control, and rabies laws within the State of Delaware.
A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.