The Humane Society of North Texas said conditions in the Hill County’s home were so poor that investigators were required to wear hazmat suits.
WHITNEY, Texas – More than 50 dogs and puppies were rescued from a house in Whitney that the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) said was “dilapidated, filled with trash and covered in feces.”
The HSNT Cruelty Department said they went home with the Hill County Sheriff’s Department on April 12 to rescue the dogs. According to the HSNT, the investigators had to wear protective suits and breathing masks because of the high ammonia content.
Photos and a video posted on the HSNT Facebook page show the dogs scattered around the house and in boxes outside.
Homeowner Linda Kennemore was still living in the apartment at the time.
“I understand the pictures are terrible and there is no denying that. If they understood the real facts, they would understand,” said Michelle Ann of the Cribs Rescue Project.
When asked how it all started, Kennemore said she tried asking Animal Control for help, but to no avail.
“I said I just get tired and tired of everything and he said what are you going to do and I said, well, I’d like to give up the dogs I have,” said Kennemore.
Kennemore said the first conversation took place in January 2020 when she had 22 dogs on her property, five of which were her own and the rest were the product of dumping.
Ann said she was contacted by Kennemore on April 1 this year because she needed help.
“I thought it was some kind of April Fool’s Day, so I remember the date,” she said. “She reached out and asked for help. I spoke to her on the phone and she told me that there is an atrocity investigator from the Humane Society in North Texas who is working with her.”
Ann said when she found out about this, she said she was given the investigator number because they can’t interfere with an investigation. She said shortly after, on April 12th, the HSNT went in and removed some of the dogs.
“I know from previous experience that when you’re working with a hoarding suitcase, you don’t just go in and remove some of the dogs, I mean hoarding is hoarding,” she said.
Ann said HSNT didn’t help Kennemore and instead they made matters worse.
“They left them with almost 50 dogs and I understand what they are showing on Facebook. The conditions were horrible, I don’t think so,” she said. “Nor do I guess they didn’t come in and help, but you come in and finish a job.”
Ann said they didn’t finish what they started and left Kennemore in worse shape.
Cassie Davidson, HSNT’s communications director, said the reason they left some dogs behind had more to do with the capacity at their facility.
“For us it’s a capacity problem and our cruelty building can only handle so many pets, both dogs and cats,” Davidson said when asked why so many dogs were left behind during a hoarding case. “So we pulled what we could with the understanding that we would be back.”
Davidson said HSNT’s director of cruelty worked with numerous local Hill County rescue workers who gave them permission to raise as many cute dogs as possible.
Kennemore said she was overrun by dogs after feeling like she was forgotten after making her first request to a Hill County animal control officer. She said the experience was traumatic.
“Without knowing what was going to happen to you, it was one of the worst memories I will ever have in my life,” she said tearfully. “You know, I just want my babies to go to a good place and then I’ll worry about myself.”
Kennemore, who currently lives in a trailer on her property, cannot return home as it is a shabby, rubbish-filled and manure-covered residence. According to HSNT, the dogs were infested with fleas and suffered from various skin problems and hair loss due to the unsanitary living conditions. The dogs were also affected by numerous types of intestinal parasites, including hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Many of the women were pregnant or had recently given birth. The mothers and babies, the teenagers and the elderly were all covered in feces, and there was no way out of this agony of living in deplorable conditions – parts of it comprised about 3 feet of compressed urine and feces.
Ann, who worked to help Kennemore save her, said she understood the outcry from people who commented on the HSNT Facebook page, but also believes people don’t fully understand the situation.
“For all of the haters who sent her death threats, it gets overrun with people saying what about the poor owner,” Ann said.
Ann said a lot of people have asked how they can help Kennemore and while being bothered by the comments on social media, she tries to stay positive.
“Show some compassion,” she said to those who were quick to judge. “This is not your normal hoarding situation as this is someone willing to hand over the dogs because they are overrun by stray dogs that have bred multiple times.”
Davidson said she would agree that this is not a typical hoarding case that says pet overpopulation can be quick. She said Kennemore worked with them from the moment they contacted her.
“This homeowner was very pleasant and very connected. This homeowner really, really took care of the dogs she had, the cats she had,” Davidson said.
The HSNT said they will continue to work with Kennemore and pick up the rest of the dogs when capacity allows.
“We’ll be on site with more groceries shortly and assess what other rescue workers have been able to do,” Davidson said in an email. “We did exactly what we were asked to, based on our capacity. We emptied the house.”
Ann said she will continue to help Kennemore in the days and weeks to come and hopes those who have spoken negatively will see the damage it has caused.
“She’s afraid for her life because she received death threats,” said Ann. “If they only knew the real story, they would understand.”
Ann also said she was upset that the HSNT made Kennemore homeless and is calling on everyone who can and will to help them get them back to their home.
“We need help, we need someone to come in, clean up, paint, freshen up,” she said. “There is no major damage, the floors do not fall in, they just have to be cleaned and disinfected.”
Ann said they are working to raise funds to help Kennemore and her sister get back on their feet. If you’d like to donate, you can use their Facebook page and a GoFundMe facility to raise funds for screening 50 dogs and helping Kennemore get back home.
Davidson announces to 6 News that 3 to 4 of the dogs rescued April 12th may be available for adoption this weekend.