CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Several weeks after 32 dogs arrived at the Humane Educational Society in Chattanooga after being seized during a police raid in Sequatchie County, the road to their recovery has become much better.
Back on December 19, the animals were rescued from a hoarding situation inside a home in Sequatchie County. Roughly 60 dogs were reportedly being housed in unhealthy and inhumane conditions by their owner; Geoffrey Peterson.
Peterson is now facing an animal cruelty charge.
32 of his dogs were sent to Chattanooga to be placed in protective custody at the Humane Educational Society. Since their arrival, the goal has been to help the animals recover from their ordeal.
"We have a few that are still very afraid; not quite use to human touch yet. I don’t know if they ever were or not but at this point we’re easing them back into that," said H.E.S. Executive Director Bob Citrillo.
Many of the animals were badly emaciated but are now on looking much better.
"Overall, their body weight is slowly improving like we want it to. We’re feeding them very cautiously to get them back up," Citrillo said.
Some of the dogs have adjusted to standing on grass and even being walked on a leach after spending long periods of their life locked in cages. Several of them are ready for adoption but there’s currently a legal blockade keeping that from happening right now. That same legal hurdle limits what WDEF news cameras can show now that the dogs are in protective custody.
"I truly wish we could show the viewers what they look like and how they have progressed very well and doing so good; but because it’s an ongoing criminal investigation, we are not allowed legally to show any of these animals to anyone at this time," Citrillo said.
The Educational Humane Society is getting ready to receive nine more dogs taken from the same home in Sequatchie County. Those dogs are currently being held at another animal facility.
In the meantime, the Humane Educational Society is actively searching for volunteers who would be willing to help provide human interaction with the Sequatchie dogs to help further their recovery.
"More important than anything, they touch the animals that are allowed to be touched and give them that human feeling of safety and some love," Citrillo said.
The same goes for non-Sequatchie County dogs who have already been waiting months to get adopted by the right family.
If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer in Chattanooga, they can click on this website page or call 423-624-5302.
Click here for volunteer opportunities.