First look at rescued dogs since last month's two ACS seizures

Focus is now on adopting, fostering out the rehabilitated animals

SAN ANTONIO – KSAT 12 got a look at the almost 70 dogs seized from two recent animal cruelty incidents. Animal Care Services made both rescues two weeks ago. As reported last week, both owners surrendered custody. Since then, the goal has been rehabilitation and adoption.

The dozens of dogs have been through a lot, including neglect, starvation, dehydration, fleas and skin rashes.

"In both of these cases, the animals were living in large numbers and very close quarters, so they had been used to living in their own feces and urine. That is a habit we have to kind of break, to get them going outside, get them housebroken," said Bethany Collonese, live release manager at ACS.

About 20 of the dogs are still in the quarantine kennel behind fences labeled "cruelty." Those were the dogs rescued from a West Side house in the 700 block of Rivas Street, where 20 other animals were found dead.

"Obviously, time was running out for these guys," Collonese said.

They're in quarantine because the investigation is still open, and they are still considered evidence. They'll soon be moved to the other kennels, joining about 45 dogs rescued from a Southwest Side home in the 8500 block of Big Creek just two days before.

Several of the dogs from both seizures are still slightly emaciated, showing ribs and vertebrae, but are still able to be adopted. The other issues, like fleas and dehydration, are disappearing with care.

"The best place for him to put on weight is going to be a home environment. A kennel can be a little bit stressful," Collonese said.

Plus, there's little space left in the kennels, so placement needs to happen quickly.  Collonese said it's rare to be overwhelmed with this many animals all at once.

"Something as simple as bathing almost 70 dogs is a monumental task. We don't have the luxury of being able to hold onto these dogs for 30, 60, 90 days. We have to move fast and so we really rely on our rescue partners and our fosters to come help us out with this," Collonese said.

Several of the dogs have already been adopted or sent to rescue groups.

Collonese is hoping people in the community will open their hearts to these animals.

"Someone who has patience and a little bit of understanding, that's not going to expect a perfect dog right away who can sit, stay, roll over. Anyone with just a little love and compassion in their heart who's going to be able to give them a little extra time. It's not requiring a high level of dog ownership or expertise skills. Anything you need to know our trainer can help you with, as well as our foster and rescue staff," she said.

She said there are several ways to help: adoption, fostering until someone can adopt, or helping find a rescue center.

For an application or more information, visit www.SAACS.net.

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