Florida rescue groups save over 50 dogs from single home in Arkansas

Posted at 12:42 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 17:37:15-04

FLORIDA (ABC News) -- Nearly 50 dachshunds are now available for adoption after two animal rescue groups in Florida helped save them from a single home in Arkansas.

The dachshunds came from a "hoarding situation," said Terri Bondi, founder of Save Underdogs in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Bondi described the dogs' previous owner as an "older gentleman" in Arkansas who didn't know what he was getting into when he welcomed three to four pups into his home without spaying or neutering them. That was five years ago.

The Crawford County man began asking for help when his canine brood reached 17 dogs, Bondi said, but he could not find anyone willing to assist. He didn't intend to breed the dachshunds, he told her, but didn't realize how young or fast the pups could reproduce.

"It only takes a year for 17 dogs to turn into 50 and 60," she said.

Although the dogs hadn't been receiving veterinary care, Bondi described them as clean, friendly and "not emaciated," adding that their previous owner "did the very best he could" for them.

Once a friend alerted Bondi to the situation on Friday afternoon, she sprang into action. She wanted to transport the pups to Florida as quickly as possible to save them from being euthanized at a local shelter, she said.

Bondi, along with Lori Hood, founder of another Florida group, Freeport-based Alaqua Animal Refuge, arranged for a van to pick up 49 dogs from the man's home within a matter of hours. The dogs were loaded onto the van before midnight on Saturday and were back in Florida by 1 p.m. Sunday, Bondi said, after a 12-hour drive.

Save Underdogs took in 22 of the dogs, while Alaqua Animal Refuge took in 29 dogs, Hood said. She and Bondi often work together, she added, in hoarding or puppy mill cases.

The man had an estimated 75 dogs at his home, but he decided to keep three. In addition to the pups taken in by the rescue groups, about 20 of the dogs were adopted locally in Arkansas, Bondi said.

The man, who lived in a small trailer, was "very sad, but very grateful" that the dogs would go to loving homes, she said, adding that he would often go without food for himself to make sure the dogs had enough to eat.

He told Bondi that he would spend "24/7 trying to take care of them."

Hundreds of interested people have reached out to the groups to adopt the dachshunds, both Bondi and Hood said. Bondi asked that those interested in adopting remain patient as they filter through applications.