Alabama dogs rescued, found to be living in wire cages

Published 6:08 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Nine dogs that had been kept confined in rusty wire crates their entire life were rescued last week from a Covington County property.

Alaqua Animal Refuge announced that they answered a call from a rescue partner seeking help with the neglected animals that were found in freezing and filthy conditions.

Alaqua’s team discovered the dogs cramped and cowering in outside cages covered with tarps. The ground inside the cages was covered in deteriorated pine straw with mounds built up, from what appeared to be old sheets or towels.

“These dogs were cold, fearful, and in need of attention. Their frail bodies indicated they have lived their entire lives in these restricted, small crates,” said Alaqua Founder Laurie Hood. “One of the dogs was literally slumped over with an arched back indicative of never being given the opportunity to stand up straight or run around. Sadly, he will be forever deformed.”

Another dog was found relentlessly barking and scared with an embedded collar in her neck. There was no fresh food or water in any of the crates. All of them were hungry, and most of their noses were scraped and raw at the top where they had been bumping them on the rusted cages, according to an Alaqua press release.

“When crates are used properly, they can be a safe and cozy haven. However, for these dogs that was not the case. Animals still need proper exercise, medical care, food, and water — not to mention a loving, warm home environment for them to thrive and live,” according to Alaqua.

Alaqua helped persuade all of the animals out of their caged environment and comforted each of them before transfer. Five of the dogs were taken to local rescue groups that had space to help them and Alaqua took in four of them that needed the most attention.

The beagle and shepherd mixed dogs, with ages spanning from 6 months to 2 years old, have been deprived of touch and tortured emotionally by their solitary confinement and cramped quarters. Alaqua’s medical team assessed the dogs and found they were all infested with fleas and ticks and all tested positive for heartworm disease. One dog was also very anemic due to a heavy parasitic load of heartworms, fleas, and other internal parasites, and three of the female dogs showed evidence of previous pregnancies. Each of them is being treated and cared for by Alaqua, and it is expected that they all will most likely recover and be able to be adopted.

The dogs are still very scared and skittish, and run from humans, but do not show any signs of aggression. In fact, a couple of them are trying to play with toys and enjoying interactions with Alaqua’s staff.

“Taking in animals like these presents a challenge for rescue organizations as there are so many obstacles the dogs have to overcome before they are ready to be adopted to a new family. Alaqua’s team works with each of them and doesn’t rush their journey to well-being. It is a slow but worthy process to ensure the animals aren’t uncomfortable at any time while being cared for and socialized. Alaqua recognizes the emotional triggers and works with them until the animals are finally ready to find their forever home,” Alaqua reported.

“It is heartbreaking to imagine living in such a confined space. Sometimes the wounds you can’t see are the hardest ones to heal. Emotional scars are real — for us and for animals,” Hood iterated. “Dogs are pack animals. They enjoy being part of a family. Being cooped up is mentally bad for them. They deserve to enjoy life, love, exercise, and company…just like all of us do.”

Alaqua does not disclose the exact location of dog rescues.

For more information on Alaqua’s services or to donate to the care for animals, visit