LUBECK -More 20 animals living in deplorable conditions were seized by humane officers this week from a farm on Wadesville Road, authorities said.
Kelly Brown, a humane officer and shelter manager for the Humane Society of Parkersburg, said officials found several animals dead and more lacking food and water and living in muddy and freezing conditions on the farm located just outside of Lubeck.
Officials said the identities of the owners are not being released pending possible charges of animal cruelty.
"We've been dealing with these people for more than three years now," Brown said Friday. "We have been giving them many opportunities to clean up their property and care for these animals. They did comply with several of our requests, but when we did go to the residence (Tuesday) there were dead animals. We contacted our livestock committee and the (Wood County) Sheriff's Department and decided to take the remaining animals."
Brown said she and another humane officer along with six volunteers spent Thursday rounding up the animals. The group seized 16 sheep, a horse, an alpaca and a chicken. A small dog is still at the residence and officials have not yet been able to catch it, she said.
Found dead were three sheep and a chicken, and officers found the burned remains of another sheep and alpaca.
"Some of the deceased animals have been sent to have a necropsy to assist us in determining the cause of death," said Chief Deputy Shawn Graham of the Wood County Sheriff's Department. "Criminal charges are likely."
Brown said the surviving animals have been taken to foster homes and officials are asking for donations to help feed the animals.
"We need hay and sweet feed, cracked corn for the chicken," she said.
Brown said cases of animal cruelty for livestock are less common because people don't think to report those incidents.
"Livestock is a different story. People just don't think about it," she said. "Cats and dogs, you get those called in, but with livestock it does happen too."