Chapel Hill, North Carolina – A Chatham County vet has informed authorities of appalling conditions at a Chapel Hill dog farm, which has resulted in the recent seizure of dozens of dogs and criminal charges against the two owners.
Dr David Webster, owner of Hope Crossing Animal Hospital in Pittsboro, was called to the backyard breeding on Alexander Drive on October 8 for welfare checks on a few puppies.
“I have been to this property several times, mainly to give them rabies vaccines. There have always been a lot of dogs,” Webster said on Tuesday, adding that he had been concerned about the animals there for years. years. “This is by far the worst I have seen, without a doubt.”
The smell of urine and feces around the animals was so strong that Webster had to go outside several times to get some fresh air, he said. The dogs were crammed into small crates, the food in their bowls was old, and there was little or no water to drink.
In a petition filed by Orange County against the owners of the kennel, Cynthia Riggan and Taylor Doar, Webster told authorities the poor conditions there have resulted in the deaths of several animals due to infectious diseases.
Examinations carried out by Webster “revealed a severe infestation of worms in the dogs examined at a level generally unheard of and rarely seen,” the petition states.
“My team and I discussed this on the drive home. [to Pittsboro] and decided enough was enough, and we had finally seen enough to warrant further investigation, âWebster said Tuesday. âIt was disheartening. We all got back in the car on the way home and we could barely talk to each other, we just know how hard they must be living there. “
Webster was one of four people to file a complaint with Orange County Animal Services on October 9. Two days later, animal control officers seized 57 English and French bulldogs from the kennel and charged Riggan, 65, and his son, Doar, 35, with the felony of animal cruelty.
The county’s petition seeks to bill Riggan and Doar for the $ 37,100 Orange County Animal Services is expected to spend to board the dogs and provide them with veterinary care for 30 days.
Animal control officers noted in the petition that the breeding henhouse âwas so infested with fleas that … barn.â Several dogs appeared emaciated to officers, the petition says.
Animal Services Director Bob Marotto said one of the dogs seized, a French Bulldog puppy, has since died. Authorities are performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death, but Marotto said the dog was “loaded with internal parasites”.
The rest of the dogs are doing well, in general, and gaining weight, he said.
“We are continuing to treat internal parasites and various animal ailments,” he said.
The county shelter has received cash donations from people to help cover the costs of dog care, Marotto said.
Neither Riggan nor Doar could be reached on Tuesday for comment. Riggan told WRAL News last week that she would never mistreat an animal, and she blamed her son for the poor conditions.
A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29 on the county’s petition to recover the cost of care for the dogs. If Riggan and Doar cannot pay, the shelter would take possession of the dogs and put them up for adoption.
Webster said he had never called authorities for any clients before, but he is happy to know the dogs have come out of a bad situation.
âOur job is to defend animals, and that’s what me and my team have done,â he said. “I felt that there were a lot of animals that were in danger of continuing to suffer or die.”