ROANOKE, Va. – Nearly two dozen dogs have been rescued after being found living in horrific conditions in Alleghany County.
Deputies responded to a call at 4520 Johnson’s Creek Road in Covington over the weekend after someone reported a strong smell coming from a home. They found 27 dogs living alone inside the house and in a shed, according to the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office.
The owners had been giving the dogs food and water but weren’t removing feces from inside the building.
Authorities charged 57-year-old Robert Via with 63 counts related to this case: 21 counts of animal cruelty as well as 21 counts each of having dogs without licenses and rabies vaccinations. Via’s 25-year-old daughter, Kaytelyn Via, of 2015 Selma Lowmoor Road, is charged with 18 counts total: 6 counts of animal cruelty as well as 6 counts each of having dogs without licenses and rabies vaccinations.
Authorities met with the dogs’ owners, who surrendered them to the Alleghany Humane Society.
Angels of Assisi got a call for help Monday morning from the Humane Society, and within about 90 minutes, one of the shelter’s vehicles was loaded up and headed to the scene.
The dogs arrived at Angels of Assisi in Roanoke late Monday afternoon.
Three sets of puppies were carried into the shelter. The rest were adult dogs.
Some of them had what looked like mud and feces on their fur.
Luckily, the shelter’s executive director, Lisa Mitchell, said a lot of pets were adopted over the weekend so the shelter shouldn’t have a problem accommodating the dogs.
“We’re going to have to evaluate them first off and see where they are, how they react to people. We’re going to have to get them cleaned up," Mitchell said. "A lot of them have been living in the mud. We’re going to have to do some diagnostic tests to see if they are positive for things like heartworm disease or Lyme disease. Often times, dogs that are living outside are. Then, we’ll be vaccinating, spaying and neutering and taking care of any medical issues.”
After all of that, shelter staff members will work with the dogs emotionally.
They’ll be available for adoption as soon as they are ready.