Many households treat their animals like members of the family, and that’s especially true around the holidays. There are all sorts of pet-specific presents, stockings, decor and treats for Christmas that fly off the shelves or get delivered to porches ahead of Dec. 25.
But one house in Dyer, Tennessee, was the opposite of all those things. Instead of being cozy, comfortable, and full of cheer, the house was in shambles, full of neglected dogs, feces and rot.
Authorities contacted the Animal Rescue Corps to help in the effort that became known as “Operation Holiday Heartbreak,” for obvious reasons.
“Happening Now — Operation Holiday Heartbreak,” Animal Rescue Corps shared on Dec. 26.
“ARC is deployed to northwest TN today to assist the Dyer City Police Department with a large and urgent cruelty case: 75+ dogs and puppies left behind in a filthy, rotting house.
Rescuers found over 75 dogs, many of them Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes. The owners had left the dogs in the dilapidated house and only came back occasionally to feed them.
The dozens of dogs ran the gamut from weeks-old pups to elderly dogs and there were pregnant dogs in the mix, too.
The ARC reported on its website that all of them “show signs of long-term neglect and overcrowding, including bite wounds, fighting, parasites, and serious untreated conditions.”
“Ammonia levels in this waste-filled house are among the most dangerous Animal Rescue Corps has recorded to date; you can smell the house from the street,” the report continued.
“This situation was desperate and required immediate intervention. ARC deployed right away.”
The house itself was deemed structurally unsound, with rotting floorboards and furniture. Crews had to use thermal imaging to find dogs hiding inside walls, furniture and under the floors.
“This is a cruelty case, and ARC is supporting law enforcement with evidence collection, crime scene processing, and forensic exams,” the report continued. “All the dogs are seized and being safely extracted and brought to ARC’s Rescue Center outside Nashville, TN, where they will receive urgent medical, physical, and emotional care and where ARC will continue to document the effects of their neglect.
“Once the animals are ready and permanent custody is secured, our placement team will individually match each one with our network of vetted placement partners and bring them as far as they need to go to get there.”
The rescue corps is also running a fundraiser to help support their efforts with this specific, extensive case, They recognized one major donor who has already paved the way for further donations.
“When Cathy Bissell of BISSELL Pet Foundation heard about the desperate situation, she immediately, compassionately, and generously pledged a $10,000 matching gift challenge to help the dogs of Operation Holiday Heartbreak get the lifesaving care they need,” ARC shared. “Joined with the $25,000 year-end matching challenge from compassionate Berty White Andrus and two anonymous donors, your gift today can be matched up to $35,000 or until December 31, whichever comes first.”
Thanks to generous donations and the work of the ARC, these pups will have much better Christmases in the years to come after they find loving homes — the best gift any dog could ask for.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.