[Baltimore Sun] 83 dogs rescued from Baltimore rowhome; animal shelter calls for help

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Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter is looking for help after taking in 83 dogs who were found in a rowhome in the Cylburn/Pimlico neighborhood, covered in excrement and roaches.

The Baltimore Health Department Office of Animal Control removed the dogs – and one cat – from the home Thursday with help from the Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, the animal shelter said on social media. The dogs were housed in small crates stacked on top of one another, and the home had “dismal air quality,” making it hard for the animals to breathe, the post said.

Initially, the health department believed the dogs were being held in a hoarding situation, the animal shelter – more commonly called BARCS – said Friday in a Facebook group for lost pets in Baltimore. However, BARCS said, it’s now reported that the animals’ former owner was a breeder who was selling the dogs on social media.

The Sheriff’s Office did not respond to an inquiry about whether charges have been brought in the case.

Upon being removed from the house, all animals were immediately brought to BARCS, where the shelter’s veterinary team set up a temporary triage station to provide medical care to each of the animals as they came in.

“We have been working nonstop since this morning and are still processing their intakes,” BARCS said in a social media post Thursday.

The dogs in the case are a variety of breeds, sizes and ages – including, according to photos posted by BARCS, young puppies and at least one nursing mom.

Even before receiving the rescued animals, BARCS was facing “life-threatening challenges” for dogs because of lack of space. In the last two years – due in part to a rise in evictions after pandemic-era protections ended – the Cherry Hill-based animal shelter has seen dog intakes rise by 71%, or about 2,300 more than in years past.

BARCS is Baltimore’s only open admission shelter, meaning it doesn’t turn away any animal in need of help. It’s also responsible for all animals impounded by the city’s animal control office, including the cost of food, any necessary medical treatment – from vaccines and spay and neuter surgeries to more involved procedures – and other care they require.

To respond to the “unprecedented” number of dogs entering the shelter’s care, BARCS is seeking donations to its medical care fund and has updated its Amazon Wish List to include supplies needed to help the dogs. A fundraiser on Facebook had raised more than $10,000 for the shelter as of Friday evening.

The dogs involved in the case are currently considered criminal evidence, BARCS said in Friday’s social media post, and aren’t available to be fostered, adopted or looked at by owners of lost animals.

However, at the time of the rescue, the animal shelter had more than 150 dogs in its care. Volunteers and staff members are working to move these animals into foster and adoptive homes to make space for the newest intakes without risking euthanasia for any dog, Thursday’s social media post said.

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