Dozens of neglected dogs rescued in Skagit County receiving treatment

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. — The Humane Society of Skagit Valley (HSSV) is working around the clock, after taking in more than 100 neglected dogs.

“Because of the undertaking this is, it really has exhausted our team. Physically, emotionally,” says HSSV Executive Director Janine Ceja.

She tells KIRO 7 at the beginning of the month, 126 dogs were seized from two Skagit County properties. The rescued dogs are mainly Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese breeds, with some Chihuahuas.

“When I received the call … I immediately went into emergency mode,” recalls Ceja. “Then it just hit me what we were dealing with. It’s just a lot. The smell, the stench, what they had to endure.”

Most of the dogs showed signs of malnutrition, fur that was matted with fecal matter, and parasites, like ear mites. Some had deformities from inbreeding.

Ceja estimates their abuse lasted for six to 12 months before the dogs were seized and brought to the shelter.

For the past two weeks, staff and local vets have worked to treat each of the dogs. For many of the dogs, their work required the shaving of matted fur — some so thick that it made it difficult for the dogs to walk, and cutting down overgrown nails — some so long they curled underneath the dogs’ paws.

“It’s insane,” says Ceja.

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway into the dogs’ neglect. Ceja says more resources are needed to ensure this kind of mass neglect doesn’t continue to happen.

“We have to have the right amount of manpower to be able to go ahead, and have an appropriate animal control presence. And right now we don’t,” says Ceja. “We have to be their voices. We do. We have to be their voices.”

The Humane Society says it has been inundated with calls for adoptions. Ceja is asking for patience as the investigation continues, and the dogs’ medical needs are being met. It could take several weeks, but HSSV plans to let the community know on social media when the 100-plus dogs will be available for adoption.

Ceja says there are ways for the community to help the dogs now. The shelter is currently in need of cash donations to help pay for the dogs’ medical bills. Additionally, fostering opportunities will continue to become available. The shelter asks that only people with fostering experience apply, as the dogs continue to recover from their trauma.