14 neglected dogs receiving medical treatment; Atwood Timmons II arrested.
An arrest was made after four dead dogs and 14 severely neglected dogs were found on a property outside of Georgetown on Nov. 23 and 24.
Officers from the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare responded to reports of dogs running at large at 24268 Deep Branch Road, the property of 61-year-old Atwood Timmons II, on Wednesday, Nov. 23. A post bearing the property number clearly marked the driveway, but there were no structures visible from the road due to the dense woods.
Animal welfare officers witnessed multiple emaciated dogs running loose as they made their way down the driveway and reported that “the property appeared to be neglected.” By the time they reached a clearing where a somewhat dilapidated house sat, they had observed one deceased dog and several dogs in very poor health. At that point, a warrant to search the premises was obtained.
Three dead dogs were discovered in a shed, which, according to court documents, “appeared to have been secured for some time.” There was no sign of food or water.
A wire kennel, overgrown with weeds and briars, containing no food or water, and offering only barrels for shelter, held three emaciated dogs. Their teeth were worn down to the gums from chewing on hard objects; one of them was likely pregnant. Two more dogs were found in another wire enclosure, also without food or water. The home was searched as well.
“We discovered that the entire house was covered with feces and dog hair,” said court documents. “The walls were bitten from the dogs trying to eat the drywall as well as [sic] the windows were covered with dog prints smeared with feces from the dogs trying to get out of the house.”
Two bedrooms contained the remains of mattresses that appeared to have been eaten by dogs. The walls had been dug out in places. There were no living animals in the house at the time of the search, but there were small piles of “hide and fur” found. Officers also located two guns, a flint action muzzleloader and a bolt action .22 caliber, in the home.
By the end of the day on Thursday, Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving - animal welfare officers had trapped the loose dogs, including one they deemed in the worst condition - unable to walk without falling over, covered in fleas, and “every bone exposed due to a lack of nutrition.”
“This is one of the worst neglect cases we have seen,” said Chief Mark Tobin, Delaware Animal Services investigative supervisor.
All the dogs seized received emergency medical care, and are now being cared for by the state-contracted Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) at their New Castle facility.
Atwood Timmons II was arrested on Friday, Nov. 25, and is awaiting a preliminary hearing. The list of 171 charges filed against him includes four counts of cruelly or unnecessarily killing an animal and 14 counts of cruelty or neglect to animals. According to court documents, his bail was set at $42,500 unsecured.
BVSPCA Delaware Director of Operations Walt Fenstermacher said he doesn’t know when the Deep Branch Road dogs will be available for adoption.
“Right now we’re just focusing on getting them healthy and letting them heal,” he said.
The State of Delaware contracts the BVSPCA to shelter and care for stray dogs and animals seized in cruelty and neglect cases, but does not require them to take in owner-surrendered pets.
“Our main priority is keeping pets in their homes,” said Fenstermacher.
He also pointed out that the BVSPCA offers a free pet food and low-cost veterinary care to those who are struggling to provide for their pets.
For more information on services provided by the BVSPCA or to make a contribution toward the care of the Deep Branch Road dogs, visit BVSPCA.org.