JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Nearly thirty animals were seized from two properties in Jones County Monday evening.
Heather Williams, President of Southern Cross Animal Rescue, said she got a call from a Jones County Sheriff's deputy asking for assistance just as the rescue was finishing with the process with nine dogs seized from a property in Wayne County. Those nine animals were part of a dog fighting ring discovered over the weekend on Lacey Road.
"Hoarding is still abuse," said Williams. "You have animals that are suffering and need help and you're too attached to them to let that be given."
Williams said the 23 dogs and six cats were seized. Most of the dogs are suffering from sarcoptic mange, a contagious form of mange to other animals and humans. They will require special medication, care and have to be quarantined.
"The best way I know how to describe it, is it feels like there are red ant bites all over your body," said Williams. "Several of them were completely hairless from this, there was a lot of emaciated and extremely skinny animals."
Unlike dog fighting, Williams said hoarding or neglect usually starts with someone caring, but becoming overwhelmed, which was the case in this situation. A concerned citizen alerted SCAR and the Jones County Sheriff's Department about the animals.
"It's happening very often, to varying of degrees of severity. What we see with hoarding cases, people don't want to report it, because maybe these people are friends of theirs or neighbors," said Williams. "It's not usually a fear aspect, like with dog fighters, people are scared to report that because they are scared for their lives or their safety. With hoarding cases, which are very common in our area, people are just nervous to do it."
Williams said it's up to the sheriff's department to press charges against the woman involved.
"If somebody abuses or neglects one dog, or a hundred dogs, the penalty is the same," Williams said. "That's what our struggle is right now, these animals need a stronger voice."