EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) is at capacity after rescuing dozens of dogs last week.
Nearly three dozen dogs were removed from a Tiverton home last Wednesday, according to the RISPCA. The dogs, which vary in size and breed, appeared “distressed” and were living in squalor.
The RISPCA took in 12 of the 34 dogs removed from the home, which has since been deemed uninhabitable. The rest were dispersed among shelters across the state.
“It was definitely overwhelming,” RISPCA dog program manager Adrianna Raymond said.
Raymond said a number of the dogs taken from the Tiverton home are suffering from neglect and serious health complications.
“Some have long nails and urine scalding, while others are going to need surgeries,” she explained, adding that some were “covered in fleas and parasites.”
Unfortunately, Raymond said one of the dogs had to be put down.
“He had an enlarged heart,” she said. “That was just an ongoing issue that hadn’t been dealt with.”
Raymond also said one of the dogs is believed to be a wolf hybrid. (Wolfdogs are illegal to own in Rhode Island.)
The suspected wolfdog’s DNA will be tested to confirm his exact breed.
“If he comes back as having any wolf in him, he will likely be sent to a sanctuary,” Raymond explained.
Raymond said if he turns out to just be “a big Husky,” he will be put up for adoption like the rest of the dogs.
This wouldn’t be the first time a wolfdog was discovered in the Ocean State. Just last month, two suspected wolfdogs were spotted roaming near Oakland Beach.
The 6-month-old sisters were originally thought to be “black coyotes,” until it was discovered that the two were intentionally set loose from a nearby home. Those dogs, named Libby and Bella, are now on their way to a wolfdog sanctuary in Ohio.
The two wolfdogs were traced back to two residents who are now facing animal cruelty and abandonment charges. The investigation also led animal control officers to homes in both Warwick and Central Falls, where the two residents were keeping dozens of other animals.
Raymond said the goal is to get the dogs treated and into foster homes as soon as possible. The RISPCA has already received 16 new foster family applications since last week’s rescue.
“It’s been incredible,” Raymond said. “We’ve received an overwhelming amount of support.”
Anyone interested in fostering one or more of the rescued dogs can submit an application online.
NOTE: This story was amended after the RISPCA clarified that some dogs are not being kept outside, but were just spending time outside when 12 News visited. The RISPCA doesn’t house dogs outside.