The Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter has seen some pretty brutal cases of animal cruelty this year.
With the amount they've had recently, we wanted to know if there's been an increase compared to the amount this time last year.
While we learned there hasn't necessarily been an uptick in cases this year, officials say the ones we've seen lately are really bad, and it doesn't help that they've happened back-to-back.
When WAAY 31 got to the shelter on Monday, a dog named Greta was brought in and was emaciated; but some of the dogs they've seen have been in far worse shape when they arrive.
“We probably average 17 to 20 calls a day," Limestone County Animal Control Officer Gil Moore said. "We stay busy.”
When it comes to animal neglect and cruelty, Gil Moore has seen it all.
“We’ve had dogs tied up and drug behind vehicles. We’ve had them starve to death. Embedded collars," Moore said.
But, recently, he said, it appears to have gotten worse.
"Usually, during the summer, it picks up, but we’ve had a lot more cruelty cases in the last month or so, it seems like.”
And workers at the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter can attest.
“Over the weekend, we had a couple of cases. It’s terrible to see it as much as we do," shelter director Priscilla Blenkinsopp said. "This morning alone, we had a mama dog come in that’s so skinny with puppies.“
Blenkinsopp told WAAY 31 tethering is a big problem, leaving marks and cuts on dogs’ necks.
“We had two cases of that last week," she said. "They had to see our veterinarian and be sewn up.”
One dog, now named Confetti, is only five months old and malnourished. He's also healing from a serious neck wound, most likely from being tied up.
He was found with fishing line hanging out of his mouth. Shelter employees say he was probably searching for food when that happened.
Now, employees at the shelter are working to get Confetti and Greta back to a healthy weight. And even with bones showing through skin, their tails stay wagging.
“You couldn’t tell he had been injured by any means. He loves people," Blenkinsopp said. "Happy dancing, just so happy to see us.”
Blenkinsopp said it’s hard to believe anyone would mistreat these animals.
"Our goal is for them to find the best homes possible. And we want them to be a part of the family," she said. "They have an unconditional love and that’s what we want to give them.”
But, sadly, with what they've seen lately, that just hasn't been the case.
“Just cruel. People not feeding them. Just letting them sit there and starve to death on a chain," Moore said. "It should be easy. Just take care of your dogs and cats.”
Now, the animals wait at the shelter, getting care, and hoping someone will give them a permanent home.
Both the shelter and animal control officers ask that, if you see any signs of animal neglect or cruelty, please report it to your local animal control.