Susan Garcia, director of the Cherokee Animal Shelter, said the community response has been wonderful so far and thanked everyone who had already donated, adding the shelter still needs specific donations to help with the influx of animals.
“I want stuff specific to this incident,” Garcia explained. “We need stuff we can use, not stuff we have to put up … If we get stuff that’s not going to help us, it takes time for us to put it away and find space to store it.”
The shelter had to close Wednesday as staff helped care for the hundreds of dogs seized from Heavenly Kennel off Cumming Highway on Tuesday, after authorities say owner Joy Wise failed to provide proper care for the animals, despite warnings from the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office in May.
Although the shelter resumed business operation Thursday, Garcia said taking care of all the dogs was “still overwhelming.”
While the cat viewing area was still open to the public, the dog pens were off limits as the shelter continued to house hundreds of dogs from the raid.
Garcia said the dogs, many of which are pregnant or had recently given birth to puppies, will remain in the shelter’s care until the issue is settled in court.
At the animal shelter Thursday, in a matter of about 10 minutes, the front desk received six phone calls from people inquiring into adoption of the seized dogs.
“No animals are currently available for adoption,” Garcia said.
When the dogs become available for adoption, they will be posted online at Adoptapet.com and announced through the shelter’s Facebook webpage, Garcia explained.
For now, Garcia said the best way for residents to help while the animal shelter houses an excess of animals is to donate money and needed supplies.
“We need newspapers,” she said, adding slick glossy advertisement pages do not work. “But we need them unfolded. We have to stop and unfold it … If we get unfolded newspaper, it goes right in.”
Specific items can be ordered and shipped to the shelter through an online wish list created on Amazon, which can be found online at www.amzn.to/1taDuSs.
“We prefer they look at our wish list for this so we don’t get stuff we don’t need,” Garcia explained, adding the wish list includes items specifically needed for the hundreds of rescue dogs taken from the kennel.
Wise was cited in May for 264 animal cruelty offenses, 264 animal neglect offenses and a violation of county ordinance for operating the kennel without a business license, court records show.
When county marshal officers went to the property Tuesday for a compliance check — to see if Wise had heeded officer’s warnings to improve conditions and give the dogs proper vaccinations — interim Chief Marshal Kevin Roach said conditions had actually gotten worse and there were even more dogs at the kennel.
Wise pleaded not guilty in magistrate court Tuesday and the case was transferred to the State Court of Cherokee County after she requested a jury trial, Roach said.
Animal control, officers, shelter staff and others went back to the property on Cumming Highway Tuesday, afternoon, and began seizing the animals in an operation that lasted into the early morning hours Wednesday.
No arrests had been made Wednesday, but Roach said the investigation was ongoing.
Roach said the Marshal’s Office plans to look into where the puppies might have been sold, and whether or not any were sold to pet stores.
For those who would like to donate, monetary contributions can be made online through the animal shelter’s website, www.cherokeega-animals.org/donate.