OGDEN -- Animal rescue volunteers and the Weber Animal Shelter worked frantically Tuesday to take care of a deluge of 149 Chihuahua-mix dogs.
All the dogs were taken from one home in the 3100 block of Jefferson Avenue in Ogden on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. Most are malnourished and need basic medical care.
Brenda Gordon, president of Pack 'N Pounce Animal Rescue, said the owner of the dogs contacted her to say he could no longer take care of what he said were 60 dogs in his home.
When Gordon and Ogden Animal Control officers got to the man's home, they found nearly 150 dogs.
The whole pack was living in a house that had no electricity and practically no food for the man or the dogs. That visit Monday night was difficult, she said, because they were working in a dark house full of dogs and dog smell and noise.
"We were taking up a collection out of our own pockets, including the officers, to go buy flashlights because there's no electricity in the house," she said.
The dogs range in age from puppies to about 2 years old.
Gordon said it is probably the most extreme case of animal hoarding she's ever seen. From what she understands, she said, the man has a medical condition and little income, but loves dogs.
"I think, my impression of what happened is, the guy had a heart attack, and he is a dog lover, and because he was on limited funds he was unable to get the pets spayed and neutered."
She said the man had a reputation for loving dogs, so neighbors would drop off dogs that they no longer wanted. He also took in strays.
Dogs that had not been spayed or neutered had puppies. As numbers increased, the situation just got out of control.
"Affording to feed that many animals, I can't imagine," she said. "The electricity was shut off because he was having to buy food."
Pack 'N Pounce took 30 of the dogs Tuesday afternoon. Many of them were in cages outside its thrift store at 333 2nd St. Gordon was encouraging people to adopt or foster them. She said several people had.
The dogs are all described as "Chihuahua mix," but Gordon said she is guessing the dogs are various mixes of at least five breeds. Few are spayed or neutered and all have been living together in one house for several years.
They are all small dogs, under 20 pounds. A few look a bit like Chihuahuas, but most are just thin dogs with long legs and pointed noses. They are tall, short, black, brown, brindle, curly-haired and straight-haired.
"You'd have to do DNA testing to figure it out," Gordon said. "All I can say is they're 100 percent dog, no cat added."
Ogden Police Lt. Chad Ledford said that in addition to the county shelter and Pack 'N Pounce, dogs have been placed with Safe Harbor and The Caws animal rescues.
Ledford said he is unsure if the man who owned the dogs will face any charges.
"The case is still under investigation," he said. "The city does have ordinances for the number of animals you can have and the care you have to give to them."
Ogden allows a maximum of two dogs.
Ledford said the Weber County Health Department is also working with the homeowner to help clean the house.
Sherrif's Lt. Chad Ferrin, at Weber County Animal Shelter, said none of the dogs the shelter took in can be adopted until a vet looks at them. Some have ammonia burns from dog urine. None have been vaccinated or de-wormed, and many have ear mites.
Ferrin said collecting the dogs was "definitely one of those experiences you don't want to have again."
Crystal Hatch, Brenda Gordon's daughter and a volunteer at Pack 'N Pounce, said she feels only sorry for the man who owned the dogs.
"He wouldn't let us in, which is kind of a good thing," she said. "We were 20 feet away and could smell (the home)."
But she said the man was "such a loving dog owner. He loved every dog, and they loved him."
She said he was going without his own food so the dogs could eat.
Pack 'N Pounce is a small rescue, and Gordon said 30 dogs means she is desperate for donated dog food, particularly puppy food.
In addition to finding homes for the dogs, she is collecting donations of money and blankets to help the man pay his power bill.
Donations can be sent to Pack 'N Pounce, 333 2nd St. Suite 8, Ogden UT 84404; by calling 801-317-2969; and at www.packandpounce.com on the Internet.
Ferrin said the Weber Animal Shelter will desperately need donations of food for the dogs, and cash to help pay for the vet care they need.
Donations can be taken to the Weber Animal Shelter, 1373 N. 750 West, Ogden, on the north end of the Weber County Fairgrounds.