On Saturday morning, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Mike Lipe responded to 148 Fairview Lane off Carters Valley Road just north of Church Hill, where a neighbor had reported several dogs at a residence that appeared to be vacant.
Lipe stated in his report that he located two dogs outside and observed through a window that there were five dogs inside the residence, but no food or water was visible.
“I also observed a large amount of animal feces inside the residence,” Lipe said. “(The neighbor) stated that she had been feeding the two outside dogs for maybe a month. I located an unsecured door to the residence and let the five animals out so they could be fed and watered.”
The HCHS responded and rescued the animals, one of which has already been adopted.
HCHS manager Sandy Behnke and her staff have done a lot of animal rescues over the years, but she said the condition of the Fairview Lane home was among the “nastiest” she has ever seen.
“When they went inside the house, of course the odor was so unbearable that masks needed to be worn,” Behnke said. “The five dogs and one cat were running loose in the back bedroom, and all I’ve got to say to the people who did this is, ‘How could you?’ It really bothers me that somebody lived in that house, and the house was foreclosed, and they’ve been out of the house over two months, and the animals are just now being rescued.”
Having said that, Behnke noted that she was surprised that the physical condition of the dogs and one cat, also located in the bedroom, was surprisingly good.
They just needed to be washed and groomed.
“There was no food or water in the house when they entered the house, and their living conditions were beyond deplorable,” Behnke said. “But they did not look to be malnourished. Overall, they looked healthy.”
One of the dogs was adopted Wednesday, and the other five are medically cleared and ready to go.
One is a Chihuahua mix, two look to be Shih Tzu and cocker spaniel mixes, one large dog and a Jack Russell mix.
“They’re all sweet dogs,” Behnke said. “Considering what they’ve been through, it’s amazing. All of them are extremely loving. The cat is a sweetheart. They belong in a nice home.”
For more information, call (423) 272-6538, visit the shelter during business hours (Tuesday-Saturday noon to 5 p.m.) at 5180 Highway 11-W on the far eastern outskirts of Rogersville, or visit the HCHS Facebook page.