Former Rhea County Animal Shelter Volunteer Arrested for Cruelty

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Updated: 2/18/2013 9:07 am


Lieutenant Michael Owenby says he'd never been sick on a crime scene, until Thursday night.

"I've worked a lot of homicides, suicides, people getting burnt up in houses, a lot of terrible things in my life. Yesterday I regurgitated twice, and I've never done that in 24 years of working here," Owenby says.

So far Richard Orlowske has been charged with one count of animal cruelty.

One of the forty dogs in has already died.

39 others are being cared for and adopted out to other shelters.

Rhea County Veterinarian Dr. Matthew Sachs says it was the worst hoarding situation he'd ever seen.

"It was obvious these animals had been neglected for some time. There was fecal matter 2 to 3 inches deep, and dried. There was no food in the cages. Like I said it's the worst I've ever seen," Sachs says.

College students reported the shelter to police, after they visited the Save My Tail rescue after finding the page on Facebook.

Sachs says to beware of online Shelter sites and facebook pages.

"If any of his 'supporters' had been inside and seen that building they wouldn't have been his supporters. It was horrendous," Sachs says.

Ownenby says Orlowske was also recruiting people to purchase dogs from area shelters, to sell online at a higher cost.

"Facebook is a real good tool for adopting animals out when it's used correctly," he says.

Orlowske was let dismissed as a volunteer from the Rhea County Animal Shelter after allowing an early adoption of a Labradoodle dog just after it was recovered.

Owensby says Orlowske became belligerent in a fight between the owners.

In Rhea County, Brittany Shaw, WDEF News 12.

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Here are the most recent story comments.View All

CTPitmom67 - 12/4/2013 2:23 PM
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THIS IS ALL BULLSHIT! Shame on you for printing such trash. Richard would not hurt a fly. Coming from a state with such corrupt red necks like the sherrif they have their Im not surprised. Shame on all of you. The only crime commited at Rhea Animal Shelter is that he didnt rat everyone out for their crimes sooner. And we all know Richard is innocent. Shame on you all.
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