SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — County officials are looking for answers after over a dozen dogs were found in a vacant home just outside of Grand Rapids.
Now they're in the care of the Kent County Animal Shelter.
"We don’t have a lot of information. It's just a very strange mystery right now, how these dogs ended up in that house," said Kent County Animal Shelter Division Director Angela Hollinshead.
The toy poodles were found in a long-vacant home in Solon Township, just northwest of Cedar Springs, on Dec. 19.
While they did have some food, Hollinshead said they were without water, and it's unknown how often someone came by to check on them.
"It would appear that they were receiving a care on some level. It wasn't what we would consider adequate, but there was somebody, you know, even periodically going there and providing some sort of care," said Hollinshead.
The dogs had matted hair, long nails and were malnourished, the shelter says.
"We received a call on December 19 that there was an abandoned house that contained quite a few dogs. When the animal control officers arrived on scene, it was very clear that they were toy poodles," said Hollinshead.
The animal shelter said it's unclear what the original owners' intentions were or what happened.
"At one point, they were very much somebody pets and very much loved by somebody. We don't know the circumstance of how they ended up where they are, but they are... they're very friendly," said Hollinshead.
The property owner told officials the home had been vacated for about one to two years, and there was nobody who was supposed to be living there.
"A lot of times these situations tend to go hand in hand with hoarding, which is very much a mental... a mental issue, so, you know, if you know somebody who is going through a situation like this, where they have a large number of animals, and they cannot provide care, either physically or financially, we really want to encourage the residents to speak up and say something," said Hollinshead.
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The dogs are currently being evaluated behaviorally and medically and will be put up for adoption as soon as they're vetted and determined healthy.
"We do know now that they are receiving the best of care, and they all have bright futures ahead of them, so that is something we can be happy for," said Hollinshead.
The Kent County Animal Shelter said they deal with hoarding situations around once a month.
They are also currently investigating two other situations. One is in Lowell where around 30 cats were found in an abandoned home, and the second is at a home in Grand Rapids where they found 15 to 30 cats.