10/01/2012 01:35 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2012

Rescuing 139 Dogs, Cats, Horses and Birds in North Carolina

There's never a respite for our Animal Rescue Team. Last week, the Humane Society of the United States' Animal Rescue Team helped animal control officers and local groups in Person County, N.C., save more than 130 animals from miserable conditions in a hoarding situation.

Kimberley Alboum, our North Carolina state director, described trash littering the property and the inside of a trailer and two outbuildings. Inside the buildings, about 60 dogs ranging from Chihuahuas to American Staffordshire terriers were confined in wooden boxes soaked with urine. Rescuers also found cats and a litter of kittens, as well as parakeets and other birds. Alboum said that this rescue was emotionally traumatic even for our experienced HSUS staff and volunteers because of "the hopeless look on the face of the animals when we arrived."

The owners were apparently selling some puppies over the Internet. "These animals were not only living in absolute garbage and filth, but they were breeding," Alboum said.

This was yet another case in North Carolina where stronger policies could have helped authorities stop these cruel conditions earlier. In a separate setting, close by the hoarding site, we also helped rescue almost 40 horses and ponies, many of them seriously underweight. The Guilford County Animal Shelter, Saving Grace Animal Adoptions, Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary, Safe Haven Equine Rescue & Retirement, Paws Ranch, Central Virginia Horse Rescue, and Allen's Place also helped remove animals from the property.

Local officials have arrested the owners, who agreed to surrender custody of the animals. After about 10 hours of work on the property, our amazing network of Emergency Placement Partners and equine rescue groups had picked up all the dogs, cats, horses, and birds. Now, these formerly neglected creatures finally have a brighter future, and freedom from the suffering and neglect that had been their lot.

Originally posted on Wayne Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.