Investigation continues at a Fort Pierce animal facility

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Investigators returned to an animal sanctuary where dogs, cats, and other animals were kept in what they described as deplorable conditions.

"We're in the process of taking custody of the animals that were in this facility," said Erick Gill, Saint Lucie County Public Information Officer.

What started off as a dispute about the treatment of animals on Saturday is now a large investigation that officials say could take days to complete.

About 35 cats and nearly 160 dogs - including a pack of wolves- were found at the "Sanctuary Animal Refuge" on Carlton Road in Fort Pierce.

With no litter boxes, and small amounts of food and water, investigators say owner Palena Dorsey left it up to her two employees to care for the animals.

"This is absolutely the worse case of hoarding and neglect of dogs and cats that we've seen in the longest time," said David Robertson, operations manager with the Humane Society of St. Lucie County.

Saint Lucie County animal control staff is working with local veterinarians, the Humane Society and other agencies to give the animals the treatment they need.

Cameras were not allowed inside the facility.

"We're trying to limit the amount of people that have contact with the facility right now so we can make sure we take care of the health and safety of these animals," said Gill.

The owner is expected to meet with Saint Lucie Animal Control soon.

Wednesday investigators hope to transfer the animals to other care facilities. "There's a long way to go. There's still a big, big need to help get these animals the life that they deserve," said Robertson.

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