14 neglected toy poodles show signs of happy past, hopeful future

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fourteen toy poodles recently found neglected in an abandoned home in rural Kent County are getting some much needed medical attention from the Kent County Animal Shelter.

The shelter rescued the dogs after getting the tip from a random passerby on Dec 19.

“I was quite shocked when I got the phone call that there were…14 dogs living in this house that was vacant,” KCAS Division Director Angela Hollinshead said.

Covered in matted fur and fleas, Hollinshead said the dogs were malnourished and appeared neglected after being left in the vacant house with no electricity or heat. While there was no water left out for the dogs, there was a pile of dry food on the floor – leaving officials with more questions than answers.

“We have no idea how long they had been in the home or really the intention of the people that put them there,” Hollinshead said. “That really remains very much a mystery to us.”

She said the property owner was unaware the dogs were there and didn’t authorize anyone to be in the house, which has sat empty for more than two years. Officials declined to release the address of the home due to the ongoing investigation, only saying it’s located in a rural area of Solon Township.

As they continue to look for the person responsible, Hollinshead said there’s a lot to learn from the dogs themselves. The condition of dogs’ teeth have allowed them to estimate their ages. 

“There’s some that are seniors that are in that 8-10 age range, some that are middled-aged and there are some younger ones,” she said.

The dogs’ friendly demeanor hints at a once happy past. Hollinshead said they’re all surprisingly sweet and social.

“That doesn’t necessarily make it any worse, but it kind of does because it tugs at your heart strings more, because these dogs at some point had what we think was a nice life and they were pets,” she said.

In addition to receiving medical treatment, the dogs underwent a much-needed grooming after arriving at the animal shelter. Hollinshead said the dogs felt noticeably better after being stripped of their matted fur.

“Immediately, he just started hopping around a little bit and was like ‘hey, I can move my arms normally, I have range of motion again’,” she said. “His little tail was wagging, and it was really a nice moment to go ‘ok, this is the first step in your new future’.”

Once the dogs are in good enough health, they’ll be made available for adoption. Anyone interested can contact the Kent County Animal Shelter at 616.632.7300.

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