Dozens of dogs rescued from van to be given to foster homes

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 5:54 PM EDT
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WHITESBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - On Sunday, 35 dogs were rescued from a van in Letcher County.

Police said the dogs were trapped in the car for at least two weeks, living on top of feces, urine and more.

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Whitesburg Police were called to the Whitesburg Food City, where they reportedly found Billy Coleman.

They said Coleman hit another car at the Gas-n-Go gas station and reportedly got into a fight with a man related to Coleman’s wife.

Sergeant Mike Garner said the wife wanted to leave Coleman.

“The wife of the male driving the van with the dogs in it wanted to leave him and convinced to drive her to Pine Mountain Grill to meet with some other family members who took her. He became enraged and followed them down Highway 15 towards Food City,” he said.

Once police broke up the fight, they found 35 dogs in the van. Garner said he could not believe what he saw.

“I was in disbelief. At first, it was thought that there were around 20 dogs, I was shocked to learn that there were 15 more, they were basically on top of each other, covered in feces and various states of malnourishment, it was shocking,” he explained.

Garner said they did not know what to do with that many dogs. He said, luckily, people with the Appalachian Pet Pantry were there and helped take the dogs out of the van.

“The piles of stuff just inside of the van, the animals were trapped under it and over it and were trying to climb over it. Feces everywhere, urine everywhere, the smell would burn your eyes when you got close,” Appalachian Pet Pantry President Tara Ritchie said. I can’t imagine how any human or dogs lived in that condition and they just kept coming out, there was just more and more and more and more.”

She said they are now cleaning the dogs and giving them space to roam and play.

“Our focus is, we’re trying to get everybody bathed and their nails clipped and they’re heading out to different rescues. We have several that our going to veterinary staff this morning to get some vet care,” she explained.

Ritchie said, once all of the dogs are cleaned and checked out, the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter will pair them to rescue and foster homes.

If you are interested in fostering or adopting one of the dogs, you can visit the animal shelter website here.

You can find the Appalachian Pet Pantry Facebook page below: