Ann Arbor, MI (April 23, 2018) – “There are puppies living in complete squalor, covered head to toe in feces,” reported the Good Samaritan who called the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) last week after visiting the home to buy a puppy.

HSHV Cruelty Investigators arrived at the Ypsilanti Township residence Wednesday to find 17 Shih Tzu dogs (age 6 months to 7 years) together with cages full of chickens all living in a bedroom covered in urine and feces. A pair of lovebirds, a parakeet, a Rouen duck, a pony and a miniature horse were also on the property.

“Big thanks to the person who reported this situation to us. The owner is fully cooperating. We’re relieved he recognized the need for assistance and so glad we’re able to get the animals the help they need,” said Melinda Szabelski, HSHV’s Cruelty & Rescue Supervisor.

Most of the animals were matted, covered in their own feces and suffered from various medical conditions, and are now being treated at HSHV.  The pony is still under medical evaluation, and the miniature horse has been given a permanent home at SASHA Farm animal sanctuary.

“This is also an important reminder to those looking to buy a puppy or other animal,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s President and CEO. “Of course, we want people to adopt and hope folks will visit HSHV or any reputable shelter first. But if you can’t find the type of animal you want at a shelter, please do your homework. Even places that call themselves a “rescue” may not be legitimate. Please never buy animals from pet stores or online, at flea markets, or out the back of a truck. Always be sure you can see with your own eyes the quality of care the animals are receiving. Whether they are from puppy mills or backyard breeders, you don’t want to inadvertently support cruelty through your dollars.”

The puppies, dogs, and birds are receiving medical care at HSHV and are available for adoption at HSHV. *HSHV advises potential adopters that many of the dogs are scared, not housetrained and may have ongoing medical needs.  They will need extra patient adopters who can help build their confidence and provide for their special needs.*

To donate to help with their treatment or other HSHV animal rescue services, please go to

HSHV investigates suspected animal cruelty in Washtenaw County—a service solely funded by donations. Suspected reports of animal cruelty may be called into HSHV’s tip line at (734) 661-3512, or online at

About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website ( and on our annual report (