Local News

Chatham animal rescue months in the making

Posted July 16, 2015 4:54 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2015 6:08 p.m. EDT

— A Wednesday raid on a farm in central Chatham County that resulted in the seizure of about 190 animals living in unsanitary conditions took months to organize, officials said Thursday.

Local and national animal-protection groups started planning after repeated attempts to help the property owner resolve a hoarding issue failed, said Leigh Anne Garrard, director of Chatham County Animal Services.

"There has been an ongoing investigation into the welfare of the animals for a long time," Garrard said.

Deputies on Wednesday served a search warrant on the property, at 3180 Silk Hope Gum Spring Road, northwest of Pittsboro, allowing rescue groups to remove dozens of cats and dogs, as well as horses and livestock.

The Humane Society of the United States, which participated in the raid, called it the organization's largest rescue nationwide this year.

The dogs and cats were taken to a warehouse for medical evaluations. A female cat identified simply as "C100," for example, was found to have infections in both ears as well as fleas and mites.

Garrard said the location of the warehouse isn't being publicized out of concerns for the animals' safety.

The larger animals that were seized were taken to other facilities for their evaluations. Garrard said she expects it will be several days before all of them have been seen by a veterinarian.

Chatham County Animal Services is still determining whether to file criminal charges against the property owner and is trying to obtain custody of the animals.

As soon as authorities have custody of the animals, they can be put up for adoption – and get some real names – said Ashley Mauceri, a member of the Humane Society's Animal Rescue Team.

"Although they have a long road ahead of them, today is their new beginning, and it's just really incredible to see," Mauceri said.