MONTEAGLE, Tenn. - After 14 animals were rescued from what appeared to be an abandoned horse trailer in Marion County, the owner said the whole ordeal was a misunderstanding.
“I never thought anything like this could happen,” said the owner, who did not want to be identified. “I can’t lose them, and they are being taken away from us.”
The man said his family was in the process of moving from Birmingham to Monteagle. They purchased a $4,000 trailer so the animals could make the move with them. They parked the trailer outside the motel where they were staying. The trailer was parked there for three days, and family members checked on the animals daily.
They left the trailer on October 12 when they went to close on their new house. When they returned the animals were gone.
“I called the police saying someone stole our animals, and that is when they told me they called animal rescue,” said the owner. “It has been a nightmare ever since.”
Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) assisted the Monteagle Police Department with rescuing the animals. Team members said they found nine dogs and five cats in makeshift pens and filthy cages. All of the animals showed signs of neglect, including runny eyes, overgrown nails and external parasites.
“The smell, it was all ammonia,” recalled Ada Dever with ARC. “The odor was unbearable.”
The owner admitted many of the animals have health issues, including tumors, but said it is due to old age and not neglect. He maintained the animals were well-cared for and loved. Some of the dogs belonged to his parents and had been passed down to his family.
“There has been a lot of lies told about us,” he said. “We would never desert our animals.”
The dogs and cats were receiving care at an ARC emergency shelter in Lebanon, where they will receive exams, and necessary medical treatment. ARC will provide daily care until the animals can be transferred to shelter and rescue organizations that will ultimately adopt them into loving homes.
The owner said he will continue to fight to get them back.
“I know they are scared,” he said. “I would like to see them and get them back,”
The Monteagle Police Department said the situation is still under investigation. No charges have been filed.