The 19 Chihuahuas taken Monday from a 101-degree trailer in Hixson were being assessed and cleaned up at the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"They are adjusting to their surrounding and are recovering well," said Karen Walsh, executive director of the McKamey Center. Walsh declined to release specifics about the dogs' assessments, pending a Feb. 24 hearing in Chattanooga municipal court.
Meanwhile, the dogs' owner said he's been offered free spaying and neutering for the animals, which is a good thing because he lost his cab-driving job when animal control violations against him were made public.
McKamey's animal control officers Monday cited the owner, Winston Andrew "Andy" O'Dell, with 96 counts of animal ordinance violations, ranging from neglect to failing to obtain a breeder's license. O'Dell also faces unrelated charges, including violations of the driver's license law.
O'Dell has said he will fight the animal charges.
"I love my dogs to death, and I'm going to do whatever I got to do to get my dogs back," he told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
O'Dell said Wally's Friends, a low-cost, spay-and-neuter organization, has offered to alter all of his dogs at once for free to help him get the dogs back.
"I asked [McKamey officials] how they were doing, and they said they're doing OK. That they're scared, but they're doing OK. I guess they are, since they've never been around people except for me and my girlfriend," O'Dell said.
He said he was told he lost his cab driving job because the citations "gave the cab company a bad appearance."
Walsh on Monday called the situation a typical case of animal hoarding, something the center officers encounter about two or three times a year, but usually with cats.
Chattanooga and Hamilton County codes require people with more than seven dogs and/or cats to obtain annual breeder's, dealer's or multiple-pet permits from McKamey Animal Center.
A $50 multipet license is offered only if the animals are spayed and neutered. A breeder's license costs $250 and a dealer license $300.
Those permits require McKamey inspections to ensure the animals are well cared for. The controls are intended to discourage puppy or kitten mills and hoarding, Walsh said. In the past 14 months, only four breeder's licenses have been granted by the center, she said. All four were the result of cases cited to court by animal control officers, she said.
O'Dell had been cited previously, about a month ago, with violations of the animal ordinance after animal control officers responded to a barking-dogs complaint. In his first court appearance on the matter he told officials he had 12 dogs.
Walsh said the center won a default judgment on those cases and issued the new citations when they found 19 dogs in the sweltering trailer.