Alaqua Animal Refuge comes to the rescue of more than 100 animals in one day

Laurie Hood, founder and president of Alaqua Animal Refuge greets one of the rescued and injured horses. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Laurie Hood, founder and president of Alaqua Animal Refuge greets one of the rescued and injured horses. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Refuge in dire need of donations now 

To say that Alaqua Animal Refuge is bursting at the seams is an understatement. Last Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, staff and volunteers of the refuge took in five horses and 97 malnourished dogs. The animals are currently being treated, bathed and vaccinated.

It al started in mid July when four horses were surrendered to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. The horses were brought to Alaqua for treatment. Then on Aug. 15 another horse was seized.  On Aug. 16, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office arrested Nancy Payne, 49, of 1426 J.W. Hollington Road, Freeport, for one count of felony animal cruelty. A search warrant was executed later in the day at the location with the assistance of the Walton County Animal Control and Alaqua Animal Refuge. A total of five additional horses and 97 dogs were seized with Alaqua caring for the animals until placement can be found. The investigation has been ongoing since April 2013 and more charges are pending.

Update on Aug. 21, 2013: A second warrant was obtained by investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s office for the arrest of Nancy Payne, 49. Payne turned herself in today and was arrested for 102 felony counts of animal cruelty. A second search warrant was also executed today at 1426 JW Hollington Road, Freeport, for the remainder of the animals. 8 horses, 2 donkeys and 3 dogs were rescued and have been taken to various locations for temporary custody. There will be more charges forthcoming.

A freshly cleaned up pup is one of the 97 dogs rescued on Aug. 16, 2013. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

A freshly cleaned up pup is one of the 97 dogs rescued on Aug. 16, 2013. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Since all but the four surrendered horses were seized, the refuge cannot allow the animals to be adopted out until the cruelty case is resolved.

“The best case scenario would be that all the animals are surrendered soon,” said Laurie Hood, founder and president of Alaqua Animal Refuge.

The dogs are taking up all the available space at the refuge including both the dog and cat infirmaries and quarantine areas.

The staff at the refuge has been busy round the clock.

Want to help? Right now the most important item the Refuge needs right now is donations to help offset the medical treatment for all the animals. Click here to help: http://www.alaquaanimalrefuge.org/HowtoHelp

The refuge is also in constant need of bleach, paper towels, laundry detergent, large trash bags, Pedigree canned adult and puppy food, small dog collars.

Alaqua Animal Refuge Inc.
914 Whitfield Road Freeport, FL 32439
Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday, Noon until 5 p.m.
Phone: 850-880-6399
Fax: 850-835-5665
Email: info@AlaquaAnimalRefuge.org

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