TAHUYA, Wash. (KOMO) — Nine dogs were found inside a trash-filled home in Tahuya, Washington, along with their owner who had been dead for 12 days.
According to the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County, the dogs were found Tuesday. The humane society said the property was in a state of disarray with trash, with no signs of accessible dog food or water present. Shelter officials said one dog was found with a metal bucket stuck on its head.
"It was a heartbreaking scene, wading through a sea of trash to get these dogs out and get them care as soon as possible,” said Katherine Johnson, executive director at the Humane Society of Mason County, in a press release.
The shepherd mix dogs, ranging from 5 to 10 years old, were found remaining close to the owner in the upstairs bedroom, their access extending to a loft balcony.
“The house was in disarray I mean as you can imagine nine dogs without any access to outside were defecating and using the bathroom in all areas of the house," said Ashley Taulbee with the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County.
The Humane Society of Mason County and Pierce County Animal Control picked up all nine dogs and brought them to the Tacoma Humane Society.
Shelter officials said the dogs arrived with "feces-caked fur and paws," and suffering from ear infections and dental disease. They add it took about five hours to rescue all of the dogs.
Taulbee said one of the dogs arrived with severe and infected wounds around their neck, which required immediate abscess drainage to alleviate pain.
“They had a bucket stuck over their head, and we don’t know for how long, and it appears as though the bucket was something that they were searching for food anywhere in the house that they could, and the bucket got stuck over their head," said Taulbee.
Taulbee said all nine dogs were scared when they got to the shelter, but they also showed signs of relief.
“We can see immediately that they were starting to rest. That they were tired, and that after starting to receive the care, they needed to sleep almost immediately because they had been likely stressed for days on end," she added.
The shelter is looking for donations to provide life-saving care for the nine dogs. Four of the nine dogs are available for adoption at the shelter.
“We knew we needed help due to our limited space and all nine of the dogs needed immediate veterinary care,” Johnson said. “Thanks to our partnership with the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, we can provide these dogs with the care and attention they desperately need."