After another animal cruelty bust, RACC says ‘it’s going to be a big year’

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than two dozen dogs were seized from a boarding facility in Richmond on Friday, and charges could follow for the man who runs the business.

Richmond Animal Care and Control said it does plan to file charges, possibly as soon as this week, against Joseph Meyers for animal cruelty and neglect.

As the investigation continues, the department is hoping to gain custody of his dogs and get them ready for adoption.

“Once you open the door past the front lobby, you step into another world,” Richmond Animal Care and Control Director Christie Chipps-Peters said.

The sight that greeted Richmond Animal Care and Control last week at Animal Motel on Lombardy Street is one officers won’t forget.

“It’s dark and dingy, the windows were covered and it’s dirty and it smells bad and there’s animals everywhere,” said Chipps-Peters.

Officers seized four dogs on Thursday and 24 more on Friday after they got a search warrant.

Six of those dogs belonged to Meyers, including pit bulls and German shepherds. Animal Control is now taking care of them.

“They had not received vet care or proper care in a very long time,” said Chipps-Peters. “Those animals will remain with us. And we will go to court for custody of them and press charges from there.”

The department will then work to find those dogs new homes.

“They are doing better now,” Chipps-Peters added.  “A few of them have gained multiple pounds just in the, you know, four days that we’ve had them.”

As owners have stopped by RACC to claim their dogs, one of them still remains: Stella.

“She’s like a boxer lab mix or something,” Chipps-Peters said. “We think she’s probably six years old.”

Chipps-Peters says Stella was dropped off at the Animal Motel on March 8th.

“She looks great,” she said. “Nobody is going to get in trouble. We just want to find her person.”

Animal Control tells 8News  the dogs are already responding to the care at the shelter

“They’re just happy,” Chipps-Peters said. “They’re really, they’re just happy to have attention and love and kindness and really great food.”

So far this year, RACC has responded to five major seizures.

“And knowing this is number five and knowing the information we already have, we have two more waiting,” Chipps-Peters explained. “So it’s going to be a big year.”

Chipps-Peters says thanks to the social media and local coverage, people are sharing more tips.

“Primarily and historically we seize individual dogs, you know, frequently,” she said. “You know if you’re not providing adequate care, we’re taking your dog.”

With charges on the way for Meyers, orange signs from Richmond code enforcement are posted at the Animal Motel condemning the building.

Meyers has 30 days to fix the electrical and water issues or the property will remain condemned.

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