An anonymous tip helped the Humane Rescue Alliance discover 11 dogs without access to food or water in a suspected animal cruelty case in Southeast D.C. on Thursday.
When HRA officers responded to the tip, they found a makeshift shelter underneath a tarp, with 11 dogs ranging in age and breed living in “unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” the HRA said.
It’s unclear how long the animals were without food or water, said Ian Matheson, an officer with the HRA’s law enforcement division, but several had hair loss or appeared to have injuries or untreated medical conditions.
The HRA won’t release the exact location of the dogs nor information about their owner because the investigation is ongoing, said Matheson.
The alliance is holding the dogs at an undisclosed location, and providing them with medical exams and any necessary treatment.
D.C. law enables the Humane Rescue Alliance to impound animals to protect their safety, Matheson said.
“No animal should be forced to live in conditions like we saw today,” said Chris Schindler, the vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance, in a news release.
“These dogs clearly lived a life of neglect for too long, but today is a new day for them,” Schindler said. “We will provide the animals with desperately needed medical care, the socialization and affection they deserve, and a clean environment to live in.”
It’s not known yet when the dogs might be available for adoption, Matheson said. A 20-day hold period is in place to enable the owner to contest the taking of the dogs.
Anyone who suspects animal cruelty should contact local authorities, Matheson said. “If you see something that concerns you, pick up the phone and make a call,” he said. “That’s what it boils down to.”
The number to report suspected animal cruelty to the HRA is 202-723-5730.
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a quote.