Neighbors concerned for years over Beaufort Co. home where 27 dogs seized

BLOUNTS CREEK, N.C. (WNCT) — After 27 dogs were seized from a home in Blounts Creek last week, some neighbors in the quiet community say the seizure was long overdue.

Neighbor Judy Rountree says the home has served as a make-shift shelter for years, causing many problems and drawing the attention of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which regulates shelters, kennels and veterinarians.

“It was like everything was only partway done,” says Rountree. “During the inspection, when the state came down and inspected her, twice, she was turned down.”

Those inspections indicated the homeowner had more than 30 dogs on her property during a visit in 2011.

“As soon as the state would leave and say, ‘No, you can’t have anymore. You have to get down to five dogs or your own personal dogs,’ then more and more dogs would show up,” says Rountree.

The homeowner, who 9 On Your Side is not identifying because she is currently under investigation but has not been charged, claims to operate an animal rescue organization called “Out of the Woods Rescue”.

However, IRS documents indicate the non-profit exemption for that organization was revoked in 2013.

The Department of Agriculture said the rescue was never approved to operate as a shelter, with documents stating, “There are no areas on this site that are in compliance.”

9OYS attempted to reach out to the homeowner, who appeared to be home.

A “No Trespassing” sign marked the front gate, and when 9OYS called the number listed on state-mandated documentation there was no answer.

A woman claiming to be a representative for the woman responsible for Out of the Woods rescue contacted 9OYS on Monday, saying the accused planned to release a statement on Tuesday.

That notification never appeared and 9OYS has still not heard back from the group.

No charges have been filed.

The Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Division reports minimal resources with many unregistered rescues to inspect. Dr. Patricia Norris is the Director of Animal Welfare for the NC Department of Agriculture. She says there are currently eight inspectors and more than 1,000 unregistered rescues in the state of North Carolina. Norris says her office constantly works with other state and local agencies to iron out details in cases like this.

The adoption hold on the seized dogs will be lifted Thursday and the dogs will then be available for adoption at the Beaufort County Animal Shelter.

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