Hoarded dogs socializing and recovering

Seized dogs at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg.
Seized dogs at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg.

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a sad "tail" with a bright future on the horizon for the dogs seized from a home in Stone County.

A little over a week ago more than 100 dogs were taken from filthy conditions. Now animal officials say those dogs are showing better dog body language then when they first arrived at the shelters.

The owner of the dogs--Shirley Gai, turned herself into authorities Thursday. She's been charged with animal cruelty and 116 counts of animal neglect, which are all misdemeanors.

All the dogs were turned over to The Stone County SPCA in Wiggins and Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg and All Animal Clinic in Hattiesburg.

Shelter officials say they received a tremendous amount of support from the community.

From enthusiastic tail wags, panting, and happy expressions the dogs are beginning to look healthier, but they aren't 100 percent yet. The Stone County SPCA took in 30 dogs and Southern Pines brought in 60, some of those had to be put down due to health conditions or overwhelming aggressiveness.

Many of the dogs are still being quarantined due to a highly contagious form of mange. Shelter officials are working on clearing the dogs of mange and other parasites. They are also working on getting the dogs out of the pack mentality and into socializing with humans.

"They are doing well. Their spirits are definitely up. We are building a play yard. They can't do a whole lot out on concrete. This weekend we are hoping to put them off the concrete and onto a yard," Stone County SPCA President Katie Stonnington said. "Today will be their third bathing day with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial shampoos."

Stonnington said the Stone County SPCA will hold the dogs for three months as they clear their skin of the red mange and continue treatment of anti-fungal infections. Once they start seeing them get their health back, Stonnington said they be up for adoption.

Southern Pines Animal Shelter Operations Manager Katherine Sammons said the dogs at her shelter could be ready in about one month. The dogs are putting on weight and volunteers and staff are working to get them socialized. Once the dogs are healthy enough they are going to be moved out of the Hattiesburg shelter and brought to other facilities.

"We are going to work to transport them out of our facility because we don't have a big enough facility or the resources to keep that many dogs for a long length of time. We are working with the state director for the National Humane Society to figure out where to relocate them," Sammons said. "Oh my goodness, it's amazing to see their transformation each day. They have gotten friendlier. We've spent a lot of time using our volunteers and staff to spend time with them with their socialization."

The outpour of donations from residents has been helpful for both shelters.

"The response has been wonderful," Stonnington said. "Animal Care Clinic and Holland Veterinary Clinic donated anti-fungal and anti-bacterial shampoo that day. And we got a bottle of antibiotics and anti-fungal pills, but we are going to need a lot more. People from Ocean Springs all the way to Wiggins have dropped off donations."

Shelter officials say they are going to need more donations.

Here's how you can help Stone County SPCA with 30 dogs:

  • Volunteer
  • Monetary donations (make checks out to: Stone County SPCA and mail it to 1989 Hwy 26 Wiggins, MS 39577)
  • Blankets
  • Dog food (puppies-middle aged)
  • You can drop donations off at the Stone County SPCA located at 1989 Highway 26, Wiggins, MS 39577  or call them at 601-270-7048, Animal Care Clinic in Wiggins 601-528-9993 or Holland Veterinary Clinic in Wiggins 601-928-9994.

Here's how you can help Southern Pines Animal Shelter 60 dogs:

  • Monetary donations can be made by going to www.southernpinesanimalshelter.org. You can also mail a check or come to the Southern Pines Animal Shelter 1901 North 31st Avenue, Hattiesburg or make a donation over the phone (601) 544-6632.

Here's how you can help All Animal Clinic:

  • Monetary donations can be made by calling (601) 268-8880.

Gai was booked at the Stone County Correctional Facility and released. If convicted, she could get up to six months in jail and be ordered to pay a fine.

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