A woman who had almost 50 dogs at her house was found to have been partially eaten after she died in her Arkansas home.
The 65-year-old woman, whose name was not released by KARK 4 News, had previously been in trouble with Van Buren County for hoarding the animals about three and a half years ago.
Once the county found out she suffered from hepatitis C, it made a controversial decision to attempt to control the animals, county officials reported.
When authorities arrived at her home in August, 46 reportedly wild dogs were living in and around the house. The woman inside had died and was partially devoured by the animals.
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"When the deputies arrived on the scene to get in to her, the dogs were vicious,” said Van Buren County Sheriff Scott Bradley. “You couldn't even get into the trailer to check on her to see what needed to be done.”
Deputies and animal control decided to shoot nine of the animals so they could reach the woman’s body.
"That's when the real threat began,” explained Animal Control officer Reta Tharp. “When they started to roam into the neighbors’ yards.”
"We didn't know if those diseases, or that disease, would be spread by the dogs in the community," Bradley said.
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For several weeks, Tharp and a veterinarian worked to save and care for the allegedly wild animals found at the home. After one of the dogs bit the doctor, they made the decision to shoot and kill more than two dozen of the dogs.
"It was the only resource we had,” Tharp explained. “We had tried everything else, and it just failed.”
Currently, fewer than 10 dogs remain at the property. Animal control officers are unsure how to deal with the rest of the dogs.
“If you know a hoarder, try to get them help!” a woman said on the KARK 4 News Facebook page. “If someone you know has a lot of animals, help them get those animals spayed/neutered/vaccinated & help find them homes! A ‘few’ dogs/cats can turn into 50 in a year or two.”
According to a veterinarian with the Arkansas State Health Department, it is not possible for the animals to spread hepatitis C.