Charges were pending Tuesday against a man in northwest Indiana after police found a mass dog grave inside the animal-rescue site he owns, reports FOX 32 News. Police first discovered there was a problem at PawsHere Foundation, Inc., in October when volunteers reported to them that dogs were being neglected.
Dawn Allen, one of the rescue volunteers, said the dogs were part of a large group removed in July from a Medaryville, Indiana, breeder who was too ill to care for them. Allen confirmed that her group initially trusted PawsHere to care for the dogs until they could be adopted.
But she said members of her group almost immediately became suspicious at the foundation's lack of care for the animals. They called the Lake County Animal Control and Adoption Center, which alerted Detective Michelle Dvorscak of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. Detective Dvorscak has been investigating animal neglect and abuse for 14 years, reports the NWI Times.
A mass grave with numerous canine remains was found at the site, which is a large farm property about 1 mile north of Shelby, Indiana, a sheriff's release stated. There was no estimate of how long the dogs have been dead.
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"It's completely disgusting," Dvorscak said, according to NWI Times, as she executed a search warrant at 22916 Harrison St.--a farmhouse, barn and outbuilding where dogs were starving or were barely alive, some so weak and ill they were unable to stand.
“It was awful because this was supposed to be a rescue operation, [but] what it turned out to be is that the dogs, I think, got rescued from something and it was like a doggie jail, it was awful," she told FOX 32.
Dvorscak identified the owner of the rescue as Kenneth D. Wilson, of the Harrison address, also listed as PawsHere Foundation Inc. "He was given this foundation to run by somebody who was deceased, who had entrusted it to him, and obviously it was an enormous failure," Dvorscak added.
Dvorscak said that she had spoken with Wilson in October about the unacceptable conditions on the property and the lack of care of the animals. At that time, he said he would address the concerns.
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But a search warrant was obtained after the detective observed no improvements following a “reasonable amount of time,” the sheriff’s statement said.
"It was horrible, they were living in their feces, their urine, they had no water, they did have food in their bowls but they didn't want to seem to touch the food," Allen said, according to the NWI Times. "The food that was out there was overrun with mice."
Dvorscak said she expects to file charges of animal neglect and harboring non-immunized dogs.
Anyone interested in assisting with medical care, donations for supplies or foster care can call Detective Michelle Dvorscak at (219) 755-3346.