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Animal Services rescues 55 pets from home in East El Paso

Updated: Wednesday, July 24 2013, 09:37 PM MDT

Animal services rescues 55 pets from home in East El Paso \
By: Genevieve Curtis

EL PASO, Texas -- Fifty-five animals are looking for a new home after they were removed from a hoarding situation in East El Paso.

Animal Services removed the animals, which include 54 dogs and one cat from a home on Fierro Drive.

When they arrived, officers described a strong, foul odor and found the pets living in filthy conditions. Many had feces matted to their fur.

"They were living amongst debris," said Hugo Navarro, an officer and Animal Services operation manager.

The owner surrendered the pets, which were not microchipped or current on their vaccinations.

But veterinarian Dr. Bernie Page said, surprisingly, most of the dogs appeared to be healthy.

"These animals, as far as hoarding cases go, are not really in too bad of shape. Some of them are really thin. Some of them are pretty dirty and we haven't had a chance to do a full evaluation on all of them," said Page.

Animal Services is appealing to the public to help find new homes for the animals so that they don't have to put them down.

"Our concern is that a lot of these animals are young and this is a high disease time of year. And we are very overbooked you might say with animals that are already in here," said Page.

Neighbors on Fierro Drive said they had no idea there were so many dogs living just a few doors down.

"Fifty-five? That's actually a shock," said neighbor Joaquin Dominguez. "They actually kept to themselves, they were never rowdy or anything," he said.

Many of the neighbors we spoke to said they never even saw multiple dogs being walked.

"The only dogs people see are mine," said Dominguez.

But one neighbor who didn't want to be identified said she could definitely smell the dogs -- she just had no idea so many lived inside. She said the owner kept the pets well-hidden with high walls in the backyard and closed windows.

The Humane Society of El Paso has already taken in 21 of the animals to get them ready for adoption.

The animals are described to be very sweet and sociable.

"This is a unique case, 90 percent of the animals that we saw yesterday when we assisted Animal Services were fairly healthy and fairly well-socialized," said Betty Hoover of the Humane Society of El Paso.

The dogs range in ages and include several puppies and various breeds.

Animal Services said they hope to find homes for all of the pets.

"We haven't sent any deadlines for these animals, but we are going to try to adopt out 100 percent of these animals." said Luis Rios, the animal shelter operations manager.

KFOX14 did find out both Child Protective Services and El Paso police responded to the home the day the pets were removed. Neither agency commented on the case.

Animal Services will continue its investigation and believe charges will be forthcoming.

There are not laws in the city that limit how many pets a home can hold.

"When it becomes a violation is when it becomes a nuisance. You're talking about odor, you're talking feces, you’re not in compliance with vaccinations, registration, microchip," said Navarro.

The Humane Society said some of the 21 dogs it has should be ready for adoption as early as Thursday morning.

By the end of the day, the Humane Society took in 29 dogs and the one cat.

Animal Services rescues 55 pets from home in East El Paso

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