MOULTON — A couple of dead dogs were found Tuesday on the grounds of the Rescue Animal Shelter of Lawrence County during an investigation of animal abuse allegations, Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said.
Animal welfare agencies, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Moulton police investigators flooded the property to feed and give water to dogs. Volunteers took some of the sick dogs to see a veterinarian. At least one dog died on the way to the vet, McWhorter said.
One volunteer drove off with a few bags of what appeared to be dead dogs in the back of a truck. McWhorter did not give an exact count of how many dead animals were found.
The Moulton Police Department and the ASPCA counted about 250 animals at the shelter Monday after they served its director, Bobbie Taylor, with a search warrant, McWhorter said. Taylor said Thursday she had about 83 animals on her property. She has been housing animals at her home on Lawrence 170 since 2013.
Taylor has been fighting animal abuse and neglect claims since last Wednesday, when former shelter worker Kaleb Scott filed a complaint against her. Scott, who said he was a volunteer, showed pictures of dogs that appeared malnourished in small kennels and also provided officers a video he said shows Taylor striking a dog on the head.
Taylor said Scott was an employee who was fired because of poor job performance. She said she was trying to stop a dog fight when the video was made and that animals usually come to her residence in poor condition.
McWhorter said investigators wore breath masks and other equipment from the Department of Homeland Security as protection while investigating conditions at the shelter.
McWhorter said Monday that when he and investigators looked over the property Thursday, they found animal bowls containing green water and dog kennels with dried feces.
Matthew Seahorn, 18, spent four hours sweating in a hazmat suit, boots and mask as he inspected the barn beside Taylor’s home. Inside, he counted 45 dogs of various ages, several ill animals confined to pens, three dead puppies and the stench of feces.
“They are all in cages to the point where they can’t even turn around, and the stench is unbearable,” Seahorn said. “No one should live in conditions like that. Not even an animal.”
A long line of parked vehicles formed as a crowd of shelter supporters and advocates congregated to look at a scene sectioned off with yellow caution tape. Most of them watched volunteers prepare clean cages for the dogs, while some in the background defended the shelter.
Shelter volunteer Jackie Posey is supporting Taylor despite the allegations.
“This could have been such a positive thing for the county,” Posey said. “If only all these people were here to help Bobbie.”
McWhorter said the investigation could last another day or two.
“We have to document what dogs were in what cage and how many,” McWhorter said. “We could be here awhile.”