WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– This past Friday, Alaqua Animal Refuge assisted Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) with the rescue of 77 animals from a severe neglect situation at Fyre Brand Rescue in Laurel Hill, Florida. The owner eventually surrendered and signed over all of the animals, with the exception of one horse which was seized, to Alaqua Animal Refuge. All of the animals are being cared for at the Refuge with the exception of 14 pigs that are under the care of PAWS. In total there were 11 horses, 14 pigs, 47 birds, three dogs and two cats that were saved.

When the rescue teams from Alaqua and PAWS arrived on scene, they found severely emaciated and sick horses; deceased piglets and chickens; hogs that were standing in three feet of filthy water; and animal skulls, jawbones, and cow horns all across the property.

“The conditions were unfit for any living thing” said Laurie Hood. “I’m happy that PAWS called on us to assist. It was an honor work with them on this case. Despite the horrific conditions these animals were living in, it gives me peace to know we got them out of that situation and are helping them all heal now.”

Alaqua’s rescue team worked late into Friday evening and over the weekend to medically assess each animal back at the Refuge, providing treatment and a rehabilitation plan for those in need.

Ironically, one of the horses surrendered actually legally belongs to Alaqua. The horse had been adopted by a local trainer last summer who had all the necessary qualifications. However, at some point the horse was “flipped” and sold to the owner of the Fyre Branch Rescue in Laurel Hill. According to Alaqua’s adoption contract, any horse adopted from the Refuge doesn’t become under legal ownership of the adopter until after one year to ensure that the horse is being care for properly and in a good situation. Typically, this helps ensure that an adopter doesn’t turn around and sell the horse for a profit.

PAWS animal control officials are continuing with their investigation of this case and the owner of the Fyre Branch Rescue is being pursued for animal neglect charges, among other things.

Hood iterated, “Alaqua is proud to be a resource to our neighboring counties and rescue organizations that share a passion for animals and their rights. Our assistance was all in the name of helping animals who could not help themselves, and it took teamwork and trust to accomplish it. We do it all for the love of animals.”

Circumstances like this put an incredible strain on the Refuge and its limited resources—especially when the number of animals is so large. Alaqua’s daily work of rescue and rehabilitation takes a village of loving staff members, veterinarians, volunteers, and support from the community. Donations for these and all animals in our care can be made here: http://bit.ly/AlaquaDonate