A dog hoarder in Watkins, Colorado, is opening up after authorities removed nearly 120 purebred Havanese dogs from his home this week.
The dogs were found in “crowded and unsanitary conditions,” according to CBS4, but they don’t appear to be malnourished, though more tests are needed to fully evaluate the medical condition of the dogs.
Their worst issue? Terribly overgrown fur, matted with dirt. About half of the dogs were sent to The Dumb Friends League in Denver, and staff quickly went to work grooming the dogs.
“The ones I shaved this morning are 30 to 50 pounds all covered in urine and feces,” said one Dumb Friends League veterinarian assistant, pointing to bags filled with fur.
About three to five pounds of hair, matted with dirt, were taken off of each dog. The dogs are expected to be up for adoption in several weeks, after undergoing medical exams.
As for the owner, Richard Pilicer, he says that he says loves his dogs but that his situation got out of control.
“I love my dogs more than life.” he told CBS4′s Suzanne McCarroll over the phone. “I am so ashamed. It was from love not cruelty that I have all these puppies.”
Neighbors said they heard barking from the house but had no idea just how many dogs were in there. They did know that Pilicer kept dogs in his four-car garage with heated floors.
One neighbor who knew Pilicer said, “He said he had too many dogs he wanted to get homes. He was attached to the dogs and couldn’t find good homes for them.”
Pilicer admits he is addicted to having dogs, and knows he needs help. He is cooperating with authorities and assisted them in removing the animals.
“It was like an alcoholic; one puppy wasn’t enough for me and I couldn’t bring myself to give them away,” said Pilicer.
Pilicer could face multiple charges of animal neglect. Animal control officers report that they haven’t seen any signs of “intentional cruelty.”