At least 80 dogs, 100,000 rats found at Owen County property

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4 Fast Facts

  • Almost 80 dogs seized from rat-infested home in Owen County
  • Early estimates indicate at least 100,000 rats on property
  • Dogs were malnourished and had problems with fleas and ticks
  • Animal shelter in need of cleaning supplies and monetary donations

FREEDOM, Ind. – Early estimates from an Owen County investigation show at least 80 dogs were living in a rat-infested property.

Greg Parker of Inter Tec, which is managing the vermin removal, says there are at least 100,000 rats on the property, which doesn't include the hundreds of others that have spread to neighbors' properties.

The Owen County Humane Society received a call from the sheriff’s department Tuesday saying they needed help taking the dogs out of the home. After obtaining a court order, 54 dogs were removed on Wednesday, another 16 were removed Thursday and several more were removed Friday.

Now the shelter is tasked with taking care of the overwhelming number of dogs. Many of them have problems with fleas and ticks or are malnourished. One dog has tumors on both front paws. The shelter manager says it's likely the dog will need surgeries, including a partial amputation.

There are two mothers with puppies and five puppies without mothers.

Paul Purcell owns the home and cooperated with investigators as they took the dogs away.

“We are a small animal shelter in Owen County, we value every life, and have some of the biggest hearts for animals that you will ever come across and will help each dog find their happily ever after (finally) with your help!” the shelter said on a YouCaring page set up to help the pets.

The shelter said there’s an urgent need for donations, including:

  • Bleach
  • Paper towels
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dish soap

Monetary donations are also needed. They can be sent to:

Owen County Humane Society
2014 Romona Road
Spencer, IN 47460

Online donations can also be made via PayPal to You can call the shelter at (812) 829-6247.

Our Lil Bit of Heaven is assisting with 16 of the dogs, which is also straining their resources. They're also accepting donations via PayPal to

The shelter does not need dog food, saying it has received enough through generous donations to last for two months, which is their storage capacity.

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