In June of 2018, the Terre Haute Humane Society was notified of a hoarding situation in Vigo County.
Initial reports indicated about 14 dogs, but when the team arrived, they found 46 dogs were in a two-car garage.
39 of those dogs ended up at the Terre Haute Humane Society. While their physical health appeared fine, their emotional state was anything but. Shelter staff believe the dogs had never been outside and had very little exposure to humans.
“They were afraid of everything. They couldn’t go through doorways. They couldn’t walk on leashes. They would just spin around and roll. They were terrified of every noise,” says volunteer coordinator Maggie Wheeler. “It was just seeing these dogs that didn’t know how to be dogs.”
Staff and volunteers spent a long time working to socialize the dogs.
“Some of what we did was just sit in their cages with them, in their kennels and that was all you could do,” says Wheeler. “Just trying to convince them that human contact was not a bad thing.”
Through building that trust, many of the dogs like Hank Jr., eventually found their forever homes. His new owners say he was a little nervous at first, but is now making himself right at home.
“He and I are attached at the hip and he sleeps with us, and we just do everything together at home,” says Maddison Riggs. “He’s so worth it. I’d never choose another dog over him.”
Two dogs from the June hoarding case remain at the shelter: Callum who staff describe as a funny guy, and Farris who the shelter says is cute and sweet.
Wheeler says both Farris and Callum are best suited for experienced dog owners and the shelter is hopeful they’ll find the perfect match.
“They all deserved a chance to have a life outside of a two-car garage,” says Wheeler.