ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. — Orange County animal control officers said their recent confiscation of 66 dogs living in one dwelling may be a case of animal collecting -- when owners initially have good intentions but become overwhelmed with too many animals.
That's what the dogs' owners are saying, too.
"We're trying to always do the right things for the dogs, and we pretty much just got overrun," said Kenneth Wiseman, who owned the dogs with his wife, Robbin.
Rosemary Summers, health director of Orange County, said an animal control officer went to investigate a complaint Thursday and found about 66 dogs living in the Wisemans' house.
The officer documented overcrowded living conditions and persuaded the Wisemans to immediately surrender four of the dogs, Summers said.
On Saturday, public health officials took measures to seek custody of all the remaining dogs after reviewing the findings of the animal control officers, who also visited the Wisemans' residence on Friday as part of their investigation.
Investigators said they found feces, urine, ticks and fleas inside the house, and they documented unclean living conditions, dogs that appeared to be under nourished, and several dogs that had visible skin lesions.
They said the Wisemans did not have permits to keep so many dogs. The owners said they were just trying to do "good."
Wiseman said he and his wife ran a Greyhound rescue out of their house for many years.
Recently, he said, they took in more dogs then they could handle.
"When it's just two people, it's sort of a hard job to do," he said.
The Wisemans surrendered all 66 dogs voluntarily.
About a dozen of the dogs have been placed in the Orange County Animal Shelter, one has been euthanized, and the others have been placed in rescue groups and foster homes.
"That's what really hurts me so bad,"Wiseman said. "I know I'll never see my dogs again."
Animal control officers will meet with the Orange County District Attorney this week to decide whether to charge the Wisemans with animal cruelty.