“We are really just trying to get them to be family dogs at this point, trying to teach them a life that they didn’t know,” said Cat Walker with the Virginia Beach SPCA.
When the Gates Co. Sheriff's Office found the dogs in mid-February, many were malnourished and injured. There were 19 dogs, mostly pit bulls. The sheriff in Gates Co. says they were used for dog fighting. One of the dog's teeth had been filed down to the gum line. The case was sent to the grand jury which will determine any charges
In the meantime, the dogs are getting better with the help of several organizations. Donald Duck, as he’s now called, is one of three dogs the Virginia Beach SPCA is now taking care of.
“They look a million times better than they did when they first got here. When they first got here, they were physically thinner, to the point of emaciation,” said Walker.
They named the other two dogs Foghorn Leghorn and Betty Boop.
Walker says they're doing well, though they still need to gain a little weight and treat some issues like heartworm, and Betty Boop is still a little timid right now.
“She doesn’t know how to play, she doesn’t know how to be a pet, she doesn’t know how to play with other dogs, she doesn’t know what toys are,” said Walker.
Fortunately, she and the others have quite a few to play with. NewsChannel 3 viewers took action, donating toys after first hearing about the situation.
Another dog was taken to the Portsmouth Humane Society.
Gooch was malnourished when they took him in. Jennifer Austin, Executive Director of the Portsmouth Humane Society says they’re feeding him 3-5 times a day to help him gain weight. Otherwise, he’s doing well.
“Every person he meets is his new best friend,” said Austin.
The rest of the dogs are being cared for by several other groups, including the Norfolk SPCA.
Unfortunately, a few of the dogs had to be euthanized because of severe physical problems or because they were just too aggressive with people.
The good news is some of the dogs will be available for adoption as early as this weekend, including Donald Duck and Foghorn Leghorn. It will be a little longer before Betty Boop is ready to go home with a family. The Virginia Beach SPCA says you can come take a look at the dogs. Here’s a link to their website. Even if you don’t want to adopt one, Walker says you can stop by to read to the dogs to help socialize them.
It will be a few more weeks before Gooch is ready to be adopted, but you can get more information from the Portsmouth Humane Society's website about how to adopt him or any other animal.