HERTFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – In what has been described by the Humane Society of the United States as a “large-scale alleged cruelty situation at a breeder’s residential property,” it has been working with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and Orange County Animal Services of Chapel Hill to rescue more than 100 dogs and puppies from a Hertford County property.
The Humane Society said local authorities served a search and seizure warrant on a dilapidated property Tuesday morning. That included a mobile home and several outdoor pens and yards, and though obscured by debris and an overgrown fence line, those who responded saw “generally filthy conditions from the road and could smell feces.”
It said the dogs and puppies “appeared to suffer from a lack of basic care and were living in unsanitary, hazardous conditions typically seen in severe neglect situations.”
A veterinarian at the scene saw that many dogs appeared very thin, with some severely emaciated with visible ribs and hip bones protruding. Several dogs, according to the veterinarian, had eye issues, and some dogs and puppies had skin conditions that included missing hair, open sores and itching.
“My heart aches for the mother dogs who have had no choice but to give birth in these sickening, unsafe conditions—this is no place for a puppy,” said Gail Thomssen, North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “We are deeply grateful to the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office for reaching out to us and helping these dogs get a better life.”
Multiple litters of nursing puppies were seen throughout the property, along with a crated mother dog with matted fur and puppies young enough their eyes have not yet opened. The humane society said there were other nursing litters of similar ages outdoors in group pens with their mothers watching over them.
The Humane Society is taking the animals rescued to an undisclosed location to receive follow-up care and veterinary exams. The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office reached out to the Humane Society to help after residents and others reported buying sick puppies from the breeder and raised concerns about the welfare of the animals on the property.
“This has been a source of great concern in our community,” said Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes. “I’d like to thank the Humane Society of the United States, our deputies and EMS for their assistance in ensuring the wellbeing of these animals, which is of utmost importance to our community, state and nation. We have already heard from members of the community who are grateful to know this is the start of a better life for the dogs rescued here today.”
Over the course of eight hours, 114 dogs were taken off the property located on Pine Top Road. All of the dogs, mostly Australian Shepherds, were removed from dangerous living conditions.
The homeowner, Terry Shinaberry, who is a registered sex offender, is known to the Murfreesboro community. He had 60 dogs removed from his property nearly a decade ago. Shinaberry told folks in 2014 he was running a rescue. This time around neighbors say he lied about being a licensed dog breeder under the guise of Three Creek Australian Shepherds.
Neighbors and rescuers cheered as the last dog was removed from the property.
“Today was a good day in the neighborhood,” said Laurie Perry, whose fiancé lives directly across the street.
Perry told 10 On Your Side that for the last seven years, she’s dealt with loose dogs in the yard and loud barking. She says Shinaberry has also shot the animals with a pellet gun to break up fights.
“You couldn’t barbeque because the smell was awful,” Perry said.
Shinaberry faces at least eight charges, including two counts of animal cruelty, two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, three counts of obtaining property under false pretense and firearm by felon.