COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Animal Control officers removed more than 100 animals from the Animal Welfare Society of Howard County (AWS), a non-profit organization in Columbia, after receiving a tip about poor conditions inside the facility.

A concerned citizen contacted Animal Control on May 9 and reported there was overcrowding, foul odor and a lack of cleanliness at AWS,

Animal Control officers acted on the complaint and visited the facility.

When they arrived, officials found the animals in, “unacceptable conditions.”

They entered AWS with a search and seizure warrant and found cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. Many appeared to be in poor health.

“We found cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits — lots of rabbits and birds,” Sherry Llewellyn of the Howard County Police Department, said. “There were many animals that were in poor condition, so we’re hoping to nurse them back to health.”

The animals were moved to the county’s Animal Control facility to receive veterinary evaluations
and care.

Andrew Sherman, a longtime worker at the Welfare Society, left stunned.

“At any given day, there are three people working,” he said. “It’s hard to go through 100 animals and clean bathrooms, so if you come at the right time, it could look pretty bad.”

The total number of animals has not yet been confirmed.

Officials said once the animals have been evaluated they will determine which ones are healthy enough to be adopted.

“This is all about the life of the animals and we want to make sure we get them back, they can come home and they’re back safe,” Sherman said.

Rick Ritter