More than 200 Dogs and Cats Saved from Squalor in Alabama

03/03/2011 06:00 pm 18:00:53 | Updated May 25, 2011

We've been making waves recently in Alabama -- seeking an enhancement of the state's archaic anti-cockfighting law, which hasn't been upgraded since 1896 and calls for a maximum penalty of a $50 fine. But while we are waging that battle for fighting roosters, we are also coming to the aid of other animals in crisis. Earlier this week, The Humane Society of the United States' animal rescue team worked with the Houston County Sheriff's Department to rescue 198 dogs and 31 cats from deplorable neglect in southeastern Alabama.

The facility purported to be a rescue organization and at one point, it may have served that purpose. But no longer. At this place, the animals lacked basic veterinary care, clean water, and attention, and they were suffering. Some of the animals were living in makeshift outdoor pens with algae-filled water buckets, while many dogs were chained to trees amid piles of trash on the property.

Despite the poor conditions they had suffered, what these animals seemed to want more than anything was a kind word and touch. Our director of animal cruelty issues, Adam Parascandola, says the first dog he saw on the property was suffering from such severe mange that he had lost all of his fur and his skin was bleeding -- yet the dog still wanted affection.

Another dog picked up a worn stuffed toy and wagged her tail in greeting, looking very happy to see the arrival of the rescue team. It's touching to see how these animals seem to want to trust people and to offer us love, even after all they've been through.

Take a look at a few photos from the rescue here, and you can also watch a video of the rescue here.

Until these animals are placed with shelters for adoption, our team is caring for them at a temporary shelter with staff from United Animal Nations.

This post originally appeared on Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.