UNION TOWNSHIP | Seven dogs and one cat with varying health problems were removed Monday afternoon from a feces-strewn house in Salt Creek Commons following a complaint from a neighbor.
The dogs taken from the small home in the 400 block of Sturgeon Drive suffered from flea-related problems and general hair loss, though the illnesses appeared to be treatable, said Ashley Dec, animal care manager at the Porter County Animal Shelter.
The owner of the house, 61-year-old Deborah Brewer, said severe depression has left her unable to clean up after the animals, but she insisted they have been well fed.
"It's my worst nightmare," she said of the action by the county, "taking the only things I love in this world."
Brewer said she hoped to keep her 10 cats, but planned to relinquish custody of the dogs in hopes they will get a good home.
"I'll cry later," she said.
Officials from county animal control and the shelter, some wearing white protective suits and breathing apparatus, removed one Boston terrier, four pugs, one Chihuahua and a large mixed-breed dog that Brewer said was being used as bait by dog fighters before it was rescued.
The Boston terrier and pugs should be available for adoption in as little as a few days after some cleaning up and observation, shelter Director Jon Thomas said.
Brewer said she has been without water at her house for two months, after a leak went undetected and resulted in a bill too large for her to pay.
Dan Boyd, who serves as an environmental health specialist at the county health department, said Monday he found a lot of animal waste scattered throughout the house and piled up in spots.
While homeowners are generally given some time to either "repair or vacate," he said this case may require more immediate action.
"We might expedite the situation," Boyd said. "This isn't something we see everyday."
Details of the case will be forwarded to county prosecutors for consideration of potential criminal charges, according to the sheriff's department.