Dozens of puppies rescued from Nassau County ‘hoarder home’ up for adoption at Southold shelter

Staffers and volunteers at the North Fork Animal Welfare League came to the rescue of more than 40 neglected dogs last week — all from a single home in Nassau County. An 80-year-old woman living in the unnamed Nassau town started with a few dogs and ended up with 43 pups she was unable to care for properly. A neighbor first noticed the needy dogs and called the woman’s niece who contacted the shelter for help.

“This was the worst neglect case we have ever seen,” said Gabrielle Stroup, the North Fork Animal Welfare League’s director of operations, who has been with the shelter for 25 years. The dogs were ungroomed and covered in matted fur. All of them needed to be shaved down, bathed and have their nails trimmed. Their previous home was dangerously unsanitary, leaving the dogs in an unhealthy condition. 

Although none were malnourished, one of the dogs has been at the Mattituck Veterinarian since her arrival at the shelter. Her hair was matted and mixed with feces and wrapped around her leg which has an open wound. The vets are currently working to save the leg. 

“They were in horrible, horrible shape,” said Ms. Stroup. “Our volunteers are great; when it’s a situation like this, it is all hands on deck.” 

Katie’s Kuts Dog and Cat Grooming in Cutchogue has done all the grooming so far, along with a shelter volunteer who is in school to be a pet groomer. 

The rescued pups are all Maltese-Yorkie mixes, which typically grow to weigh between five and seven pounds. “Small dogs go quick,” said Ms. Stroup, who will begin accepting adoption applications for the Morkies Wednesday.

The adoption process for shelter dogs is simple: fill out a form, take the pup home for a trial period as a foster dog, return in a few weeks to get shots and be spayed or neutered, microchipped and ready for full adoption. There’s a $200 fee to cover expenses once the process is complete. 

The rescued Morkies range in age from 8 weeks to 5 years. The shelter believes they were bred in the home before being rescued. When dogs have been raised in such circumstances, they are typically wary of people and not very friendly. But Ms. Stroup believes the woman did try to care for the dogs and only neglected their grooming. “I think she spent time with them; they are happy dogs,” she said.

With three or four small dogs able to fit very comfortably in each kennel at the shelter, the facility was able to house more than usual. This has helped staffers keep these rescued pups together — and happy — since their Aug. 1 rescue. 

Those interested in adopting a dog or cat or to make a donation can visit the shelter’s website or call (631) 765-1811 for more information.

Grooming is essential for dogs’ well being. Without the proper care, unkempt fur can lead to serious health risks from fleas, matted feces and disease. The shelter, which has locations in Peconic and Aquebogue, will house the dogs until all are adopted. They also care for cats and various types of domestic animals, including pigs, ferrets, parrots and other exotic pets, according to shelter staffers.

For more information on adopting the dogs, visit