A Thurston County shelter is treating several dogs and exotic birds that were rescued from a filthy Belfair house over the weekend.
Mason County sheriff’s deputies conducted a welfare check Sunday evening at a couple’s property on Blackhawk Court. A family friend was concerned because no one at the house would answer the door.
Deputies found a man and woman, both in their late 60s, who needed immediate medical attention. Inside the home, deputies also discovered 30 to 40 Pekingese dogs of all ages along with several birds, cats and snakes.
All of the animals were covered in feces, and a few dead dogs were found inside the home, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
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Animal control units from Thurston and Kitsap counties assisted the Mason County Sheriff’s Office. To gather up the animals, deputies wore hazmat suits because of the filth and feces inside the residence.
Thurston County Animal Services in Olympia is sheltering 16 of the pets: 10 dogs, two cockatoos and four cockatiels. Shelter manager Connie Patterson said the dogs have been well-fed but suffer from ailments such as ear infections, rotted teeth and overgrown toenails.
Some of the dogs arrived soaking wet with excrement embedded into their fur. For now, the shelter will groom the dogs and await instructions on the next steps.
“All we are doing right now is housing them and giving them medical care,” Patterson said. “They are not our dogs to adopt out.”
The case is under investigation by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office. Detective William Adam said the couple will likely return to the residence when released from Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton. The county will work with the couple to find new homes for the animals, said Adam, noting the foul odor that emanates from the residence.
The couple have been identified as Thomas and Judy Thornsberry, whose Facebook page sheds some light on their health.
In her posts, Judy Thornsberry describes how the couple’s health and living conditions had worsened in recent months. She has been battling the flu and pneumonia, while he was dealing with congestive heart failure. She also wrote that the couple has been unable to clean up after the animals.
“I had been trying for over 24 hours to get out of my bed to take care of the animals, and I kept passing out,” she wrote. “It’s truly getting too smelly for man or beast, and until I can clean, scrub and anti-bacterialize (sic) every surface and fabric, no one should come in.”