Animal welfare officials seize 14 dogs

State authorities rescued 14 “severely emaciated and neglected dogs” from a Millsboro property on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Delaware Animal Services (DAS) reportedly received a tip concerning several neglected dogs in the area, as well as several other dogs running loose in a nearby wooded area, according to state officials. Officers from the Division of Public Health’s Office of Animal Welfare then responded to the scene and captured the loose dogs, who were reportedly in poor physical condition.

After interviewing local residents about the animals that were left on the property, officers reportedly obtained a search warrant and “observed numerous emaciated dogs that needed immediate medical attention and four deceased dogs on the property,” according to officials. They reported that the property appeared to be neglected, and that there was no evidence of food or water for the animals.

Atwood Timmons II, the property owner, as arrested on Friday, Nov. 25, without incident, according to officials. He was charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty and other charges concerning housing, care, rabies vaccinations and dog-licensing violations. Timmons was arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court 3 and an unsecured bail was set at $60,000, according to state officials.

“This is one of the worst neglect cases we have seen,” said Chief Mark Tobin, DAS investigative supervisor. “It was obvious that the dogs had not received any care in a long while, and the conditions in which they were kept was appalling.”

State officials said the dogs had numerous injuries from trying to escape their confinement, as well as parasites and other visible signs of neglect. The dogs were reportedly taken to an emergency veterinary hospital for urgent care. Officials also said some of the dogs weren’t captured initially, and it took 24 hours to gather them all from around the property.

“This case involved a tremendous amount of teamwork, and we want to thank the good Samaritans who first reported the case and the Sussex County Constable Office for assisting in the initial hours of the incident,” said Tobin. “We know the dogs are in good care now at Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA).”

“These dogs will have a long road to recovery ahead of them,” said Adam Lamb, chief executive officer of BVSPCA. “We are committed to providing individualized care to each one of them. That may mean extensive medical treatment for serious conditions associated with long-term neglect, psychological rehabilitation or training to prepare them to live in a home environment.

“Whatever they need, we will provide it. If anyone would like to contribute to the animals’ rehabilitation and care, call Brandywine Valley SPCA at (302) 516-1006.”

Lamb added that many of the dogs will require around-the-clock care and intensive therapy for heartworm infection. Additional tests are being conducted on the dogs to gauge further treatment needs.