The Department of Agriculture removed 16 shih tzu dogs, aged between one and three years old, from a home in George Town.
The animals were removed from their owners’ home as part of a joint investigation between the DOA, the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Environmental Health.
“After being made aware of the very unsatisfactory welfare and sanitary conditions in which the animals were being kept, the owners agreed to voluntarily surrender the animals, [which] were all examined by a veterinarian and appeared to be well fed but very dirty and smelly as a result of the unsanitary conditions,” the Department of Agriculture stated in the release.
DOA Director Adrian Estwick said the living conditions in which these animals were found were “untenable.”
“We were able to move quickly to remove the animals from the home and are now working with various animal rescue and charity groups in an effort to have as many of the dogs as possible fostered or adopted into loving homes,” he said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.
By Friday evening, following social media appeals, foster or adoptive homes had been found for all the dogs, according to the Humane Society.
One dog was suffering from a chronic eye condition and will need surgery, Mr. Estwick said, “However, we are very pleased to report that it has been fostered by a local veterinarian who will ensure the animal receives the medical treatment and care that it needs.”
Mr. Estwick said none of the dogs would be euthanized, contrary to a WhatsApp message that has been circulating suggesting that all would be put down. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Must Love Dogs for donating grooming services to the small breed dogs and the Humane Society for its continued partnership in these types of rescue operations,” he said.
The Humane Society issued a statement on Facebook saying it had been “overwhelmed by the response to our plea for foster homes for the shih tzus,” adding, “For those who don’t get to foster or adopt one of them, please don’t forget about the 32 dogs surrendered to the DOA on Sept. 7. We took in 15 of them, 7 of them still remain in the shelter and are in need of help …. Please help these guys too! They are as loving as any dog.”