Alleged animal hoarding at two locations in Bridgeport; owner refuses to surrender her dogs

BRIDGEPORT, Alabama (WDEF) – An alleged act of animal hoarding in Bridgeport Alabama has neighbors complaining and animal advocates crossing state lines to help.

An investigation into the allegations began when a concerned neighbor followed a small dog back to an abandoned home where she found dozens of animals housed in what has been described as deplorable conditions.

Because Bridgeport does not have an animal shelter, she contacted the Marion Animal Resource Connection right across the state boarder in Jasper Tennessee.

But during a News 12 investigation with help from animal advocates, it became apparent that the abandoned house wasn’t the only location where dozens of animals were being kept in what has been described as undesirable conditions.

At the first location, News 12 found an abandoned home with wooded containers in the backyard. Inside those containers were multiple animals.

Marion Animal Resource Connection Director April Bowden was also present.

“I can see multiple small dogs in rabbit houses with very little air and sunlight,” Bowden said.

Some animals were roaming freely on the property. One was a small dog that was either suffering from mange or an extreme flea infection.  Animal advocates told News 12 there’s dozens of dogs cats and chickens left unattended. The smell was unbearable and the neighbors told News 12 the dogs bark 24/7 non-stop.

“That’s not fair for the neighbors to have to smell the house and hear the animals. It’s not fair for the animals to be living in this type of  environment,” Bowden said.

According to neighbors, the owner arrives at the house at least once a day to feed the animals, but she doesn’t live here.

News 12 along with animal advocates from Tennessee were escorted by Bridgeport police to her other home nearby; a home that according to authorities has as many as 50 animals.

Bowden asked the woman if she wanted to surrender the animals so that they could be placed in a better environment.

“I’m not willing to surrender. I take care of my dogs. I cook. You all  got no business at my house. I didn’t call you all. I take care of my stuff,” the woman said.

When it was all said and done, her son agreed to surrender 22 of his dogs that were on the property.

Neighbors in this area told News 12that  it has become common practice for people to drop off unwanted animals both at the house or at a nearby river. The mother and son have reportedly been taking care of the animals, but advocates are concerned about the conditions.

“That happens a lot, and that’s where a lot of these hoarders start out as caring people but it just gets so out of hand that I see this a lot in these areas,” Bowden said.

There’s nothing the police can do about the situation because there is no animal shelter or Humane Society in Bridgeport.

Because the woman is refusing to surrender her animals, advocates will likely contact the National Humane Educational Society which has more resources to legally handle the situation.

As for the 22 dogs that were rescued from the second house, Bowden said they have been placed in foster homes but are in serious need of medical attention. She fears many of them might not survive.

The Marion Animal Resource Connection is desperately asking for help from the public to help locate homes for some of the rescued dogs and even money to help pay the medical cost.

If anyone is interested in helping they are strongly urged to call 423-240-9074.

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