50+ dogs removed from Goochland woman's property face uncertain future

Published: Sep. 18, 2013 at 11:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM EDT
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GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - Carriers full of frightened and sickly dogs were hauled off a Goochland woman's property by court order Wednesday.

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue Executive Director Sue Bell says many animals had to be coaxed and wrangled out of cages. They're now being transferred from what many called cruel conditions.

Bell says she hopes more than half of the 50-plus dogs taken from Annette Thompson's property can be rehabilitated and find homes. However, Bell believes that a good number of the dogs will have to be put down.

Last week, a judge ordered that Thompson relinquish the animals to avoid animal cruelty charges.

Wednesday morning, the Homeward Trails van was stacked with carriers filled with dogs that haven't stepped outside a kennel in years, according to Bell.

"The life of these dogs, for the vast majority of them, was living in a six-by-six foot, chain-link kennel with a concrete floor and a plastic dog house. So, there was no walking. For many of them, they were in isolation," said Bell.

Bell says her rescue has taken in hundreds of dogs from Thompson over the last several years. Bell says the animals were being kept alive in dismal conditions.

"They literally have been living in… a prison for up to eight years," said Bell. "Marigold is a very sweet three-legged dog, so we're hoping we can get her up to Northern Virginia and find her a home."

Bell says Mosby, another gray and white hound, spent years in a cage with a broken paw. However, she says Mosby has a good temperament with a great chance at hopefully finding a home.

"We're going to take (Mosby) back, get the leg x-rayed, and hopefully get him repaired and socialized with other dogs," continued Bell.

Bell describes most of the dogs as in dire need of medical care. She says some may never be able to adapt, since they are so far gone from years in a cage. Those dogs will likely be euthanized.

Thompson maintains she cared the best she could for the dogs with her own retirement money. She says many of the animals were abandoned on her property.

"I know working with this rescue, these dogs will get good care and good homes," she wrote in a statement. "This was part of the plan all along... I hope someone learns from my mistakes."

Bell says Homeward Trails is in desperate need of more foster homes and rescues to help take in these dogs. Anyone interested should contact Homeward Trails.

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