RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A search warrant reveals more about the horrid conditions at the Animal Motel, the Richmond dog boarding facility raided by Richmond Animal Care and Control on Friday.
Officers seized 24 dogs from the boarding and grooming business, which is now not in operation. Court documents describe starving animals living in dank and unsanitary conditions, with no electricity, light or adequate food. Officers also found random animal drugs and prescriptions, including the euthanasia drug, Euthasol.
The search warrant states animal control officers found four dogs "with their ribs, hips and pelvic bones protruding."
"Regrettably they were in very poor condition," said Richmond Animal Care and Control Supervisor Rob Leinberger, who helped coordinate the raid.
Leinberger said officers are investigating why there were drugs and medications found on the premises, including the Euthasol. The boarding facility is not a licensed veterinary clinic.
Court documents also revealed the building had "no power" as far back as the beginning of the winter. Dogs were described as being kept in kennels with "dried feces," stacked with debris. Officers saw "large quantities of mouse droppings," and dogs left in the darkness.
"Very limited lighting from the windows, from natural light. They were all covered up," added Leinberger. "The animals are going to be more depressed... and regrettably, many of them appeared that way."
All the dogs belonging to customers were picked up. But six belonged to owner Joseph Meyers and another employee.
Meyers will ultimately be charged, according to RACC, once the investigation is completed. Officers still have multiple computers, filing cabinets and other records to pour through.
RACC has filed to take ownership of those six dogs, German Shepherds and pit bulls, which were badly underweight. Leinberger said they are now recovering.
"They're progressively gaining weight. Their temperaments are improving. They're being treated medically, physically, emotionally," he said.
The facility was also cited for building code violations. If the owner does not fix "unsafe structure" issues listed such as lighting and electrical hazards, it could be permanently condemned.
RACC also said that Richmond police are investigating other "non-animal" related activity.
Building inspectors cited the facility for code violations the same day as the raid, deeming it an unsafe structure. Issues listed such as electrical hazards must be rectified within 30 days, or the building could be condemned.
Animal Control is also asking the court to never allow Meyers to have ownership or control of any animals in the future.
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