Dozens of chihuahua mix dogs rescued from home

Local News

Investigators will pursue charges against two people accused of housing dozens of dogs in a home with what they are calling deplorable living conditions.

Bristol, Virginia police said Rosa Qualls and Mary Castle will face charges including failure to provide adequate care and failure to vaccinate for rabies after officers were called to a home on Dunlap Street on Friday.

Animal control officers removed nearly 40 chihuahua mix dogs from the home. 

They said when they initially rescued these animals Friday evening they were filthy and flea-infested.

Animal Control Officer Deena Bouton said the home they were living in had no running water.

Now, Bouton said the dogs are doing ‘well’ after a weekend of care.

“Every single one of them was flea-infested,” she said, “so treating them with flee medicine automatically made their lives and their conditions better.”

However, the new shelter has quickly filled up. 

“We’re crowded,” said Bouton, “We have 14 cages, I’ve only been open six weeks and I think at the most I’ve only had seven dogs.”

“When I came in this morning I had one open run,” she added. 

On Friday, animal control officers described the living conditions inside the home as deplorable. 

“They’ve never let us inside the property to check the living conditions up until this point,” said Bouton.

She said during animal welfare checks in the past, Rosa Qualls and Mary Castle would bring the dogs outside to be checked.

Bouton also said during those checks, the dogs appeared to be healthy, other than a few minor issues.

Animal Control Officer Josh Slagle said on Friday, that the inside of the home was covered in animal waste.

Bobby Mullins said he has heard the same thing. 

“Well I think it’s a shame that they would be like that,” said Mullins, a Dunlap Street homeowner. “A woman told me she was in that house about two years ago and she said dog poop was about that thick on them floors.”

Joseph Sullins, who also lives on Dunlap Street, was shocked by the news.

“Oh it’s crazy,” he said, “I don’t even know how they fit that many dogs in that house.”

Animal control officers have petitioned the court for a seizure hearing to obtain custody of the dogs.

That hearing is expected to take place Thursday.

Once a decision is made, Bouton said the shelter will know more about whether these dogs will be up for adoption or not. 

Bouton also said Bristol Animal Care and Control will request a minimum of $1,400 in restitution for the care of the animals. 

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