Indiana Daily Student

UPDATE: Police continue to investigate Bloomington dog hoarding operation

<p>A dog and her puppies are photographed at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. Police seized 68 Carolina dogs from a breeding operation on March 17, 2023, in Bloomington.</p>

A dog and her puppies are photographed at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. Police seized 68 Carolina dogs from a breeding operation on March 17, 2023, in Bloomington.

The 68 Carolina dogs seized on March 17 from a property on North Adams Street are recovering after showing signs of medical issues and a lack of socialization, Emily Herr, outreach and behavior coordinator of the City of Bloomington Animal Care and Control, said.

Herr said the dog breeding operation was the first complaint of this scale the BACC recevied in Mornoe County.

Herr said BACC initially received a complaint from someone who had purchased a puppy from the owner. She said they noticed the puppy was younger than what they were told and was concerned about how the animal was cared for and its physical condition. A week after receiving the complaint, animal control officers took the dogs off the property on March 17.  

The Bloomington Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department helped with the seizure. 

[Related: Dogs seized from unauthorized hoarding, breeding operation in Bloomington]

“There was no danger to (BPD) and no danger to the public either,” Herr said. “The owner of the animals was compliant, but now they’re staying pretty private.” 

Herr said people were shocked and concerned by what had happened. She also said even though the owner received backlash from the community, she believes it is important to keep in mind that the individual is still a person.  

“The root of it comes back to people giving us support and giving the animals support and really coming together and being what a community should be,” Herr said. “We definitely felt the love from everyone in the community.” 

She said the seized dogs had some medical issues and were not properly socialized. They were mostly closed off from the outside world.

She said the Bloomington Animal Shelter is focusing primarily on helping the animals heal mentally and physically before putting them up for adoption again. 

“We are being a little cautious with where these dogs are going because we don’t want them to end up in another situation that resembles anything like they were in before,” Herr said. 

She said while the shelter at first struggled to accommodate the large number of dogs coming in, the Monroe County and Brown County humane societies offered to take six dogs each to lighten the burden. 

[Related: 'It's my whole life:' Delilah's Pet Shop struggles after city ban]

She said BACC found out some people knew about what was going on but did not come forward sooner. She said this is potentially due to the fact that many are not aware of Indiana’s dog breeding laws. 

Commercial brokers are required by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health to register if they sell at least 500 dogs and/or puppies annually and must also have a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The BOAH also requires people register as commercial breeders if they take care of more than 20 unaltered females over 12 months of age. 

Herr said the shelter relies on community support to enforce these laws. She said at the moment, the owner has not faced any charges. 

Ryan Pedigo, BPD captain, said the case is still an active investigation. Pedigo said BPD will not be holding interviews on the case and recommends people contact BACC if they want to learn more information. 

According to a press release, the Bloomington Animal Shelter is welcoming monetary and bedding donations, which can be dropped off at the front door of the Bloomington Animal Shelter at 3410 S. Walnut St. Residents can give monetary donations from noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Monroe County Humane Association has also set up a temporary fund online and is welcoming donations. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly described the nature of the investigation and those involved. The story has been updated.

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