A pet rat, one guinea pig, one rabbit and 37 dogs and cats, that is what Hardy Police Chief Earnie Rose found when he entered a Hardy residence last week.
"The smell was so bad I wouldn't even have let my dog in there," Rose said.
Rose said he learned of the animals through a Hardy alderman who lived in the area. "The alderman called me and said he had not seen any cars at the home lately," Rose said. "He (the alderman) said the dogs were coming up to his house and they looked like they hadn't been fed lately."
But, Rose had no idea the extent of what he would find at the home, located at 303 School Avenue. After watching the home for a couple of days, Rose said he determined that no one was taking care of the animals.
Rose said he had problems with the residents who owned the home before, concerning her animals. "I went over there one day, and the house was so bad, I told them I would be back the next day and if it wasn't better they would have to leave," Rose said. "When I got there the next day it wasn't clean, but they had changed the litter and bleached the floors."
He said he thinks the residents must have hidden the animals from him because he never saw this many animals in previous visits to the home. Cassandra and Albert Dacus are the homeowners, and according to Rose, Cassandra told him to contact Tammy Adams if there was ever a problem with her animals and she was out of town.
Rose contacted Adams March 5 and asked her to accompany him to the residence. Rose said Adams showed him around the house and pointed out a dead dog that was inside of a dog house in the back yard.
"Inside the house was a total disaster," Rose wrote in his report. "Animal feces all over the floor and furniture, clothes, papers and other things were scattered about."
The report said that there were cats, dogs, a rabbit and a guinea pig inside. Outside, in the front yard, a dog was tied up and around six puppies and dogs loose. There were also three dogs tied up in the back yard. The curtains were pulled down off the windows and dogs and cats were visible from the street.
"I can't believe that she (Cassandra) did these animals this way," Adams said. She fed and watered all of the cats and dogs and took the rabbit, guinea pig and rat with her to a safe place, the report said.
Rose then took action, going to the judge requesting a warrant to seize the animals. On March 6, Rose's request was granted.
Rose contacted Wanda Turner, an abuse investigator with the Northeast Arkansas for Animals Shelter in Jonesboro. Rose said Turner showed up that day to help him with the extraction of the animals from the home. They found three dead dogs in their search.
Turner took all of the animals back with her. All of the dogs and cats were diagnosed with mange, some had ringworm, upper respiratory infections and were malnutritioned, among several other things.
According to a report of the animals Turner sent to Rose, "All animals received an initial veterinary check on March 7. Animals were found to be infested with parasites -- ringworm, sarcoptic mange, round worms, hook worms, pin worms.
"Each animal received initial vaccinations, antibiotics, mange/ringworm treatment. Their sores were treated and ointment prescribed.
"Initially, five dogs were heartworm tested -- three tested positive. Initially, nine cats were tested for feline leukemia -- seven were positive.
"Additional testing, treatment, worming, etc., will be provided twice daily."
Rose said Cassandra verbally agreed to surrender the animals to Turner so they would not have to do so by court order. The Dacuses will have charges brought against them, starting with animal cruelty, Rose said.
He said he has also told the Dacuses they are not to live in the home until it can be inspected by the Health Department, due to the conditions. "I am going to try to have it condemned," he said. "I have already talked to the mayor (Nina Thornton)."
While Rose said he is not sure if this is a case of good intentions gone wrong, he does know something went wrong.