BEDFORD, Ind. -- 14 dogs, including five puppies, received critical medical care Wednesday after they were found living in deplorable conditions inside a home in Bedford.
The dogs were a mix of Great Danes, Pit Bulls, and mixed breeds.
Police say their owner, Nathan L. Shaw, is now facing charges of abandonment and neglect. According to court documents, Shaw left for Mississippi on May 28th. Shaw initially made arrangements with a friend to look after more than a dozen dogs.
" That friend we were told did do that maybe once maybe twice. And then had some kind of an injury or some sickness, couldn’t do that anymore. Another friend contacted. The dog owner said that friend at some point check on the dogs, checked on them that one time, decided he couldn’t do it. Then we had a third person involved," said Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore.
On June 8, the owner’s brother got a call that a Great Dane was dead in the living room. Hours later, a utility worker called police after seeing the dogs in what appeared to be distress.
“We had no complaints from neighbors what-so-ever,” said Chief Moore.
Police then took the dogs from the home to the White River Humane Society.
"They were not in good shape at all... Definitely from lack of food, also conditions with fleas and whatnot, they were not in very good shape,” said White River Humane Society President Buddy Hendricks.
Hendricks says during his time in Lawrence County, he’s seen hoarding situations but never anything like this.
"Emaciated, his eyes we’re practically out of his head. He’s suffering. Under normal conditions, we would not have hesitated to put him down,” Hendricks says.
According to court documents, the home was covered in urine and feces. Hendricks believes the dog's conditions are a result of breeding and fighting. Many are still left wondering how so many dogs ended up there in the first place.
“In some cases, probably in more than a few cases, people in those situations are breeding those dogs, and that’s how they wind up with so many… They had some scratches and cuts on them. I think they probably fought a little bit,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks says this incident rocks the entire community and clearly shows that more policies should be put in place to help all parties involved.
“Helps on the safety end for the people out in the community. Helps us that we can afford to take care of the animals that are brought to us. Helps gives the officers some guidelines that they know what to do when things like this happens," said Hendricks.
The owners, Shaw, is not in custody. However, a bond has been set for 4,200 dollars. That has to be paid on Tuesday. If not, he will lose all rights to ownership. He’s expected to appear in court July 2, which will determine if he can keep the dogs. If not, the White River Humane Society plans to make them available for adoption.