FREEPORT, Fla (WJHG/WECP) -- On Wednesday, Alaqua Animal Refuge rescued and provided aid to many Great Pyrenees dogs, who have been living in squalor in a nearby Florida county.
Lucky Puppy Rescue in Bonifay, Florida contacted Alaqua nine months ago, indicating a situation of an elderly woman living in a house with a large amount of Great Pyrenees dogs in Washington County.
Alaqua contacted local law enforcement and then traveled with them to the scene where over 70 adult dogs were found inside the woman's house and on the 35-acre property.
The owner was in a wheelchair with medical issues and could not move to properly care for them.
The dogs were allowed inside and outside the house through window openings that served as doggy doors.
The property, including the house, was covered in feces, hair and urine, and was unsanitary for the owner and the dogs.
None of the dogs had been spayed or neutered. Many dogs had injuries from fighting, mostly from males fighting over females in heat.
The dogs' hair was dirty, matted and fleas were infested everywhere.
Laurie Hood, founder of Alaqua Animal Refuge, described the scene inside the home as, "truly sad and deplorable," for the woman and the dogs.
"There was a central room with dog food and the owner would sit in her chair and dump food on the floor for them. There were bits of food scattered everywhere. It's hard to believe than anyone or any animal could live in these conditions," said Hood.
At that time, it was determined by officials that the dogs and the woman would be allowed to remain on the property and live in the house.
The woman passed away three days ago. Her final wish was that Alaqua take ownership of all of the dogs.
On Sunday evening, representatives were granted access onto the property to evaluate the situation.
A neighbor said that there were deceased puppies on the ground and in the house. The other puppies found were weak and lethargic could barely move.
Ten puppies, ranging from two to four weeks old, and one kitten were brought to Alaqua late Sunday night. The animals were each evaluated by Alaqua's medical team, and staff worked well after midnight caring for and stabilizing them.
Each animal was given a thorough bath, fluids for dehydration, dewormer and flea medication. They were fed by syringe and given the appropriate vaccinations.
They are all in foster care now, and being given individual care during this critical time in their young lives.
The remaining adult dogs on the property are also being evaluated by Alaqua's staff of veterinarians and animal technicians. After each animal is evaluated, they will be de-wormed, vaccinated and provided medical treatment as necessary.
"It is a daunting task. The majority of the dogs have never been handled or socialized, much less had any outside human contact. We are taking our time to gain the trust of the dogs, so the process is a lengthy one. I'm grateful for so many national groups stepping forward to help us rescue these majestic animals, so we can get them the care they deserve and into loving homes quickly," said Hood.