GREEN LAKE - Following up on an anonymous tip of dog hoarding, Green Lake Animal Shelter manager Janine Ruback and other county authorities counted 51 dogs living in one home, mostly toy fox terriers.
"It wasn't fine, but there wasn't anything there that was criminal, so it was just that there was so many," said Ruback.
While the identity of the dogs' owner is not being released, authorities say the town she lives in allows a person to house up to 12 dogs without a permit.
"I swear if I had not heard the dogs barking when I walked into that house, I would not have known there was that many dogs in there because it did not smell like dogs at all," said Ruback.
Forty-seven of the dogs were removed from the home. They are now being treated and quarantined at the Green Lake Animal Shelter for ringworm.
The only dogs that were not taken were spayed or neutered. It is something each of the recovered dogs will have done. They will also require some dental care.
Ruback expects the total cost to be about $200 per dog.
"It's the vet bill that's going to kick our butts a little bit," said Ruback.
Once these dogs are cleared of ringworm, the shelter expects a large demand for adoption.
"Although all the dogs have or had been exposed to ringworm, they aren't in terrible shape," said Ruback. "A lot of them need to have their teeth cleaned, but that's not out of the ordinary for tiny level toy breeds."
Ruback says the dogs' owner was trying to stop the dogs from breeding but couldn't afford spay or neuter treatments. She says the terrier case should be a lesson - she wants dog owners to know they can ask for help without getting in trouble.
"If I'm there in a year it's going to be an entirely different story, but for this time it was the best possible outcome in a situation like this that a shelter can ask for," said Ruback.
Ruback believes the spread of ringworm among the dogs is partly to blame on the number of mothers and puppies living in the home.
She also says the owner of the dogs plans to take eight of them back after they are medically cleared.
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