Dogs were living in their own waste

The county's animal shelter was practically full when workers with Henry County Animal Care and Control picked up 38 dogs at one Hampton home this week, said the agency's director, Gerri Yoder.

"Many of the dogs are being held three-to-four dogs in a kennel [cage]," said Yoder.

The dogs were discovered at Gerry Marshall Hobby's home, at 15 Steele Court, in Hampton, when police went there to execute a search warrant for evidence that Hobwas allegedly masquerading as a lawmen for various police agencies.

Fake badges were sought, and he was charged. But police had to negotiate their way through the animals and the animals' waste to do their job, they said.

"It reeked of a strong urine odor. I could smell it from the driveway," said Vince Farah, a supervisor with the county's animal care and control department.

"With the help of the family members, we were able to retrieve the dogs. They assisted us in gathering and loading up the animals from inside the house."

The absence of care was visible. Hobby's family members could not produce any veterinary history for the dogs, said Farah. None of the animals had been vaccinated for rabies, 70 percent of the dogs have dental and hygiene issues, such as missing teeth, and periodontal diseases, he added.

A cocker spaniel had visible signs of a skin disorder. The dog is scheduled to be adopted.

"Five of the dogs have been rescued, so far," said Farah. "We are looking for citizens to rescue the rest." Even with five dogs adopted, the county shelter remains overcrowded.

There are no plans to euthanize any of the dogs, he continued. "We are going to hold the dogs as long as possible, based on available shelter space," explained Farah.

"Right now, we do not have any available kennels for dogs, every kennel is full. Because we had these hoarding dogs, they are having to share kennels."

Charges related to the animals are pending against Hobby, said Yoder. She said he signed over ownership of the 38 dogs to the county.

Yoder said, as a practical matter, suspected hoarding Hobcould have been avoided, if the first two stray dogs acquired had been spade and neutered.

"Most of the dogs are the children and grandchildren of the couple's original stray dogs," she said.