Adoptions help animal shelter after taking in hoarded dogs

Adoptions help animal shelter after taking in hoarded dogs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A woman accused of hoarding 40 dogs inside a Berclair home is due in court Monday morning.

Bonnie Maher-Hazel, 59, is facing a felony animal cruelty charge in a case officials said was the worst they’ve ever seen.

Bonnie Maher-Hazel (Source: MPD)
Bonnie Maher-Hazel (Source: MPD)

Last Thursday, Memphis Police Department and Memphis Animal Services went to a house on Zelda Lane.

Officers arrived to find a strong odor coming from the house. Exhaust fans had to be brought in to air out the house before it was safe for officers to enter.

When they went inside, they found 40 dogs inside the home in poor living conditions.

Memphis Animal Services took in the dogs, which caused them to hit a crisis level.

But they said the community stepped in to take nearly 50 dogs from their shelter, alleviating the space crisis.

“It started as a heartbreaking situation and it became a miraculous one. What more could you ask for,” director of MAS Alexis Pugh said.

Pugh says after hearing about the hoarding story, rescue groups and ordinary people stepped up to foster, adopt and volunteer.

“Friday morning they were here. They started coming in and they were in our kennels shopping, looking for who they can help,” she said.

The shelter also received a truck load of donations.

“When everybody can do a little bit, it helps the huge picture,” Renise Coppens said.

Pugh says the last few days have proven the Mid-South is always willing to help.

“You have to be honest with the community. You have to say ‘We’re struggling and we need you’ and this community will step up, if you ask," she said.

Over 170 pets at the shelter went to rescue, got adopted, or went to a temporary foster home.

Maher-Hazel will be back in court on June 24th.

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