ARR: Rescued dogs need all the help they can get

James (Sandra Ecklund/WCIV)

By Sandra Ecklund and Nikki and

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) Deputies say the dogs rescued from a Goose Creek home were nothing but skin and bones and near death. Now those dogs are getting the much needed care they deserve at a Lowcountry animal hospital.On Monday, deputies rescued 45 dogs from the Goose Creek home of Loney Garrett and discovered the remains of more than 200 more dogs behind his property.Thin and frail, the dogs are a sad sight for Michelle Reid with Animal Rescue and Relief, the agency helping care for the helpless animals."We're seeing everything from the obvious, being emaciated, to cuts, lesions, lick granulomas, every parasite you can imagine, heartworms, coccidia. We have one dog in particular who has a puncture clean through his eyeball and its infected," said Reid. "We have another one that has an exposed bone. We're seeing seizure activity in dogs, tick-borne diseases. You name it, we're running across it right now."One of the issues doctors are dealing with is something Reid says she has never seen before. Some of the dogs have stomach worms which Reid says is contracted from eating rats. "There were rats the size of cats running between our feet," she said, recalling the scene of the rescue.It was a scene that shocked both deputies and seasoned ARR members."We had a couple of people on our team that were a bit taken back by it just because of the grand scale of it," Reid recalled. "Four beagles were in a cage together, there was a dead beagle that was about three feet from the entrance of that cage. For them (the Garretts) to say that they loved these animals, and that they cared for them every day, they would purposely have to step over that dead, rotting beagle to take care of their animals. And these beagles had to look at that every single day. What I'm seeing doesn't define love and I'm hearing over and over how these animals were loved and I'm not seeing that."

ARR has a plan in place to make sure the dogs rescued from Garrett's will not take up too much space at Doc Williams SPCA. No dogs will be euthanized because of lack of space."It's a disgusting situation that should never have happened," said Reid. "It's disheartening that people can view these animals as disposable."

The Road to RecoveryFive of the 45 dogs received treatment Thursday from Veterinarian Specialty Care in Mount Pleasant. They are in more serious condition than the others.One hound, known simply as No. 16, has a puncture wound that goes straight through his eye. It has become infected and may have to be taken out. His next stop is to an eye specialist who will make that decision."Some of them are going to have some permanent damage. We may have one that has to have part of his tail amputated and another one that could potentially lose an eye, heartworm disease, long-standing neurological problems," said Reid. "Overall, it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to get these guys back on their feet."Many of the problems aren't just physical."All of the dogs I've seen are over a year old today and they've been in this condition for their whole life," said Dr. Kelly Klein with Veterinary Specialty Care. "You can tell they're used to it. They don't want to be on warm bedding, they're fine laying on hard floors. When they're outside, they just sort of pace around. Their teeth are worn down. They've been chewing on rocks.{} They're eating feces, they're eating whatever they can eat because that's what their day to day life has been up until now."Despite their hard life thus far, all of the dogs are social. They walk up to people, are gentle{} and loving. Even so, they have a long road of recovery ahead of them before they can find a forever home."Dogs and cats that have been malnourished like this can also develop what's called refeeding syndrome where they can have changes in their blood values that can be life-threatening," said{}Klein. "So you have to slowly reintroduce food and that can be over the next few weeks to months so it will be a long process."

How You Can HelpIn the meantime, ARR needs all the help they can get to get the pups back on their paws.With five dogs at the hospital and 40 more at the Doc Williams animal shelter, ARR has a long list of responsibilities and is financially responsible for every single pup.If you'd like to donate to help with the cost of their medical bills, checks are accepted at the Mount Pleasant Emergency Vet Clinic. Simply write 'ARR' in the memo space.

The ARR website also accepts donations which can be made by mail or through Paypal plus the ARR Facebook page will have a wish list of items needed.