The Humane Society has rescued 41 dogs from a canine training facility in Berry, Alabama, about 40 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa, following an investigation that began in October 2013. The dogs were found living in "unacceptable conditions," without shelter, warmth, or clean water, according to a statement from the Humane Society. The organization had already rescued 65 dogs from the property within the past year, many of which were living amidst feces and excessive filth.
Three of the trainers at Tuscaloosa K9 Training Academy, along with the facility's owner, Heather Litz, have been charged with 80 counts of animal cruelty in light of Monday's rescue. Litz's dog training facility, which was featured on a 2012 episode of the television show "Pit Bulls & Parolees," had been investigated previously by a drug task force, prompting this week's follow-up investigation and resulting rescue. Animal Planet, the channel that airs "Pit Bulls & Parolees," has recently come under fire for its treatment of animals, after a Mother Jones investigation raised concerns of abuse behind the scenes at the network.
According to Mindy Gilbert, director of the Humane Society for Alabama, the dogs were taken for immediate veterinary attention. "I'm so relieved these dogs can now receive the care they they've desperately needed for some time now," Gilbert said. "Our efforts, alongside those of the 24th Circuit Drug Task Force, have ensured that these dogs won't live in these deplorable conditions anymore."
All of the rescued dogs are currently receiving treatment and on the path to recovery. Once the animals are rehabilitated, the Humane Society says, partner organizations will assist in finding each of the dogs a permanent home.