Dozens of emaciated Great Danes were seized by police from a home in St. Stephens Church, Va., following an Aug. 17 property search, local authorities say.
A total of 20 adult dogs and 12 puppies, ranging in condition from “poor to near death,” were rescued by officials with the King & Queen County Sheriffs Office, according to a Tuesday press release.
Richard Awlasewicz and Candice Wheat, the owners and operators of Virginia-based dog breeding company 101danes, were both arrested and charged with animal cruelty, which was recently made a felony in the state.
Chief Deputy W.R. Balderson said that five of the malnourished Great Danes were found “barricaded inside a small, dilapidated camper,” covered in feces and urine and with no access to food or water. The temperature inside the camper “was extreme and without ventilation,” he added.
The rest of the dogs were found inside the home with little food and water, police say.
The sickly Great Danes were brought to King William Regional Animal Shelter, where they are receiving treatment and “improving daily,” deputy Balderson revealed.
A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20 to determine whether the dogs will be returned to their owners.
In a similarly shocking case of animal abuse, 13 emaciated Great Danes were rescued by animal rights activists in August after the dogs were left to starve to death on an abandoned breeding farm in Thailand.
Photos of the skeletal animals, which went viral on social media, ended up catching the attention of the country’s king, who “adopted” the dogs and ordered his household to cover the cost of their treatment.
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