Operation Freedom Dogs: 20 Years of Cruel Confinement Ended

On July 3rd, 2012 Animal Rescue Corps removed 100 dogs from a hoarding case in Wilson County, TN. These dogs had been living their entire lives in rusted, ramshackle cages, exposed to the extreme heat and cold with no shelter.

Animal Rescue Corps only recently learned of these dogs and the conditions they were forced to exist in for two decades…decrepit cages with nothing for shelter but sharp metal boxes and rusted out barrels, dangerous terrain littered with nails, dangerous objects and the bones of dogs that did not survive these harsh conditions.

The dogs were transported to the ARC Emergency Shelter where they received necessary medical and other care. The dogs will eventually be placed with ARC’s placement partners – and now begin their journey to becoming beloved family members.


  1. I am so happy for these babies <3

  2. Elizaveta says on  07/05/2012 at 9:17 pm

    awesome ive been trying to stop animal cruly and pitbull fighting but i never will:-(

  3. Hmm since when do dogs live 20 years? hehe.. seriously good on them! Hope none of them were to bad mentally.

  4. Angela says on  07/05/2012 at 9:17 pm

    Wonderful news to read!

  5. Renea says on  07/05/2012 at 9:17 pm

    True Hoarding is a mental disease…

  6. Thank-God and Bless you all..you wonderful people!

  7. Renea says on  07/05/2012 at 9:17 pm

    While I am happy the dogs are out of course

  8. Barb says on  07/05/2012 at 9:18 pm

    Very happy to hear this!!

  9. GREAT!!!!!

  10. Janelle says on  07/05/2012 at 9:18 pm

    God Bless all of these animals and the ones who saved their lived. So sad that others did not have the opportunity to live.

  11. Tracy says on  07/05/2012 at 9:18 pm

    20 years? how could anyone who knew about it let it go on for that long?

  12. I hope that this miserable hoarder (I’m being kind) ends up in a prison somewhere. For a long time.

  13. Karen says on  07/05/2012 at 9:19 pm

    Yip right here in Middle Tennessee they’re down at the fairgrounds and they’re all doing well!!!

  14. Louise says on  07/05/2012 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you God or whomever is in charge!

  15. Debbie says on  07/05/2012 at 9:22 pm

    Paul Lista, as another commenter said, Hoarding is a sign of severe mental disorder, so I truly hope this person also receives the treatment they so obviously need.

    • Julie says on  07/05/2012 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you, Debbie!!! All the comments about wanting to hurt/ torture and kill the hoarder have been very disheartening for me. This person is mentally ill and needs help. Where was this persons family, friends, neighbors, community?? Where has compassion for humanity gone. This person probably lived in the same condition as the animals.

      • Alexis says on  07/06/2012 at 11:32 am

        All you have to do, Julie, is look closely at most of these cases. What you will find in actuality is that the family has tried sometimes for decades to – first – help the hoarder – but that does not work and the family eventually gives up; neighbors finally become so upset at repeatedly and just as repeatedly unsuccessfully trying to get the authorities involved, and suffering emotionally from having to live in the neighborhood with such animal suffering that the authorities won’t actually do anything about sometimes for decades, not to mention financially damaged from having their own property values irrevocably damaged from the proximity of hoarders. The hoarder usually has NO problem living in the same condition as the animals. Just ask them!

    • Alexis says on  07/06/2012 at 11:18 am

      Having (barely) survived to young adulthood with a mother who was a hoarder I am here to tell you that your sympathies for hoarders as having mental disorders is misplaced. I along with many other adult children of hoarders had a lot of dismay when this issue became part of the medical code books because it validated and gained sympathy (and money) for what is basically only sociopathic attention-getting behavior. After my sister, brother and I moved out as soon as we graduated from high school to get away from her, my mother started hoarding animals and at the time the animals were finally seized by the County she had over 40 horses, 20 cats and innumerable dogs, chickens, etc. on less than 7 acres and there were remains of animals scattered all over. Most telling of all, we tried to get a guardianship on her and you know what? The COURT decided she didn’t HAVE any mental issues. Anyone in my area who has tried to step in legally on a hoarder has faced the same judicial decision – the hoarder IS NOT MENTALLY ILL. Exactly what most of us have been saying. Sociopathic – yes, probably. But mentally ill? That only gains sympathy and having excuses made for them.

      Between the time us kids managed to escape (and all of us still have residual health issues caused by being kids growing up in that environment – impaired lung function – asthma for two of us, emphysema and chronic bronchitis for my brother – from the filth, for example) our mother got a LOT of money – financial support, which ended up going to breeding more animals – food, transportation (rides, and even donated cars). Us kids tried SO hard to get her shut down and get those animals to safety but it took years because the authorities just don’t want to step in; at one point my mother got married (briefly) to another hoarder who even threatened the animal control officers with a gun, for which he was never prosecuted. The husband soon died of illness caused by living in a hoarding environment. When mother finally passed away after being kicked out of senior housing unit after senior housing unit after senior housing unit for hoarding everything from old clothes from rummage sales to accumulations from her dumpster diving, we found that she had changed her will to exclude us kids because she said we had tried to “take” her animals away from her – it actually said that in her will. Not that she had any money to actually leave in her will – it was just horrible that us kids were “told off” like that.

      I would point out again that many of us adult children of hoarders – and we even have some organizations – do not agree that these people are mentally ill and deserve sympathy. What they DO deserve is prosecution. No, many of us including my sister and brother, have NO sympathy for the hoarder; our sympathies are for the animals that suffer and die at the hands of hoarders and for the children whose lives are ruined forever from having had a hoarding parent and for the neighbors whose property values have plummeted and who are unable to even sell their own property because of having a hoarder for a neighbor. I am sorry – NO MERCY. Prosecution for what the hoarder does for animals – and by the way STOP “glamorizing” hoarding by giving it “reality TV” attention!!!!!!!!!!

      • Bemused says on  07/06/2012 at 9:12 pm

        I just saw that nobody had the guts yet to reply to your message. I would like to say that I hear you – I can’t say that your approach will *always* be right but yes, certainly, there are those cases where only the full legal approach is ever going to stop things. I suspect that sometimes hoarders *are* mentally ill, but I would bet real money that the majority are actually along the sociopath lines rather than the severely mentally ill sort of lines.
        Also interesting that it took that long for things to get sorted. I see two options there – either they were a total loner with no neighbours (unlikely) or things were reported but nothing was done (more likely).
        Looks like this is in the States? I see lots of bizarre things here (UK) where sometimes you have people getting away with anything and other times you have people being harassed over nothing. I’ve known someone inspected over reports that they had “guineapigs that just fight and have babies all the time” – they had a peaceful pair of neutered pigs. I’ve also seen horses in a terrible state near a friend’s house – I said I’d happily report the people, of course my friend had already reported them more than once – nothing.

      • Anonymous says on  07/08/2012 at 11:32 pm

        Thank you for sharing your story. It was very raw and eye-opening.

  16. Famtastoc News!

  17. Jacqueline says on  07/05/2012 at 9:23 pm


  18. poor poor babies, how could anyone be so cruel

  19. Thanking God , for the person that REPORTED this horrific situation. Also for the real “humans” who CARED ENOUGH TO RESCUE THEM !!!

  20. Isabella says on  07/05/2012 at 9:28 pm

    Great job !!! so happy!

  21. Wonderful that not all people turn there heads and are afraid to do something to help defenseless animals! Bravo

  22. Great job Animal Rescue!!

  23. LAissez les respirer !

  24. GOD BLESS ALL <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  25. God bless you all. you are angels!

  26. Karen says on  07/05/2012 at 9:32 pm

    FYI whoever wanted to know since when do dogs lie 20 + years? they ALL used to apparently… I was walking around my last dog’s cemetary one day and noticed all the older stones, all the dogs had lived 20 + years…. But according to vets i’ve spoken to they didn’t used to put so much trash in dog foods including reconstituted animals… and some dogs are actually OVER vaccinated and medicated so to me dogs that have been virtually ignored actually have a good chance of living out what is apparently their natural lifespan…

    • Bemused says on  07/06/2012 at 9:18 pm

      So you think that with medical treatment dogs’ lives SHORTEN but with all these same advances humans’ lives LENGTHEN? So acutally then, are we being sold a load of crap and in 1900 the human life expectancy was actually 100 years average, because now we are being damaged by medicines and vaccines!? You are *so* funny! Haha!

      • Anonymous says on  07/07/2012 at 7:23 am

        the data is out there and you need to read it. Yes, we are overvaccinating our animals….if you do a titer test to determine the levels of antibodies to the item you are vaccinating for, you can tell how much is still in their systems years later, still protecting them. But the vets make so much money…they vaccinate every year for the same thing…because of $.
        These vaccines are causing cancers, arthritis, seizures…read the literature…before you laugh this off..”google it”

        • Bemused says on  07/07/2012 at 8:16 pm

          Over vaccinating, ok, it’s possible. How much does a titre test cost, compared to a vaccine? So if you are short on funds which do you choose? Because you could do the titre test and find that your dog is one of those that *does* require annual booster vaccinations to maintain adequate immunity. So you’ve spent your meagre fund on the the test, what do you do next? By your argument you might as well not bother with boosters at all, and with that save the cost of the titre tests if you thought they were of value, but what cost to the dogs who needed the booster and never got it… and then (for instance) get a bad case of parvo?

          I often see these “vets making money” claims – but in all truth you can make a LOT more money treating a case of parvo then you can by vaccinating against it. So if vets really wanted to make money they would advise against vaccination. Many more cases = many more long hospital stays = more money. Nobody vaccinates for profit. We vaccinate annually (or every other year) because we can’t prove that every dog will be covered for more than a year (or two) so that’s the safest bet.

          I would like to see statistically sound evidence relating to your claims of arthritis, seizures, etc. Remember the UK MMR vaccine scare? Turned out the “claims” were rubbish, and cases of those diseases rose as a result. Smooth move, consiparcy theorists.

          FYI, I’m a veterinary nurse, and I would NEVER miss a booster with my dogs or cats. Should I ever have children (and I plan not to, based on how brilliant the world is), then they will never miss any vaccine.

          I just hope you never cause any prolonged, painful deaths full of suffering with your theories.

          Have you ever seen a dog with parvo virus? Just curious….

  27. Karen says on  07/05/2012 at 9:32 pm

    live not lie… oops

  28. Donating…..what a fantastic rescue group !!!

  29. Barbara says on  07/05/2012 at 9:33 pm

    Thank God! But this went on for 20 years? Unbelievable!

  30. DrBuzzie says on  07/05/2012 at 9:34 pm

    I hope TN animal-abuse/cruelty laws are felonies with stiff, ENFORCED penalties. MY JUSTICE: What you do to an animal gets done to YOU. DONE!

  31. Jenn says on  07/05/2012 at 9:35 pm

    Thank God!!!

  32. TN, again.

  33. Please, everyone, understand that hoarding is a mental disease. The woman who did this actually loved these animals and wanted to take care of them, all of them, but just couldn’t do it with them breeding. She needs help, not prison.

  34. And, Elena Tartaglia LaManna, just what do you mean TN, again????? Do you have inside knowledge regarding Tennessee that no one else has???

  35. Louise says on  07/05/2012 at 9:45 pm

    I cannot look at the video if there is one or photos….it makes me that angry!

  36. Karen says on  07/05/2012 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for saving these dogs…I hope that punishment will come to those that committed this cruelty to them. I just don’t understand how people can do this to such loving animals. Or better yet…kill them bastards that did this. Pardon my french…but it infuriates me!!!!

  37. @Sandra. She got 1 year probation.

  38. That’s not what needs to be done. She needs to be under psychiatric care or she will just hoard animals again. The court could order psychiatric care if they wanted to, but they don’t think the animals are worth it. This just isn’t right.

    • Alexis says on  07/06/2012 at 11:28 am

      The only way to actually prevent a hoarder from doing this again is to lock them up. Maybe not prison but if they cannot GET to animals they cannot HOARD animals or breed more. Please see my above post. I LIVED it with a hoarder. Most are not mentally ill and they know perfectly well what they are doing and they will defend to the death their “right” to do it. Many courts have decided that they are not mentally ill, I don’t care what the shrinks and the medical insurance coders say. The experts in mental health even agree that there IS NO treatment that works. Original thinking was that hoarding was related to obsessive-compulsive disorder but none of the treatments for that real disorder (a true mental illness, not a bogus one like hoarding) work on hoarders. The only things that CAN be done are PUNISHMENT for the CRUELTY done to the animals so that the person begins to understand their behavior is NOT to be tolerated, and PREVENTION so they do not hoard again. Talk therapy and meds just do not work. They MUST be put in a situation where they can never lay their hands on any animal EVER AGAIN because they will do it – why not, it just gains them sympathy and attention which was their original goal.

  39. That just breaks my heart and makes me wish that I could adopt a few more dogs. Not so many that I become a hoarder, of course … but a few.

  40. Tracie says on  07/05/2012 at 9:55 pm

    Hip hip hooray;))) my heart is happy and my face is smiling!!;)<3 thank You

  41. HANG the SOB

  42. Yes. There was also another story in the news today about people in New Zealand ( I believe) who also hoarded and operated a puppy mill as well. They were banned from owning dogs for 20 years. That would be a good idea for the US too.

  43. Janie says on  07/05/2012 at 9:57 pm

    Why don’t we ever hear about the person who is doing the hoarding? You talk about the dogs – but what has happened to the person? Please tell us the “rest of the story”.

    • Anonymous says on  07/05/2012 at 10:27 pm

      yes, i would like to know what kind of punishment they got or did they sleep through the cracks of the justice system.

  44. Excellent News!

  45. Karen says on  07/05/2012 at 10:00 pm

    thank god there out of there and on there way to forever homes!!!!those people should be hung….how could anybody do such a terrible terrible thing to these beautiful animals….God Bless them and there saviours!!!!!!!!

  46. Magen says on  07/05/2012 at 10:08 pm

    How many thousands died of abuse and neglect?

  47. Did they not have family that knew they were hoarders?

    • Alexis says on  07/06/2012 at 11:41 am

      Pretty much impossible that their family did not know. Do you really think that families can actually do anything about a hoarder? Sheryl – they cannot. Not even trying to get a guardianship works because even the courts do not think hoarders have a mental illness that prevents them from being able to function. Most families after years and years AND YEARS of trying to help, find solutions, rescue the animals, get the authorities involved – finally give up. Hoarders are very, very resourceful at getting what they want and continuing to do what they do. And what they want is attention, sympathy, and to be showered with financial reward in whatever form.

  48. poor babies…people can be strangely sick….

  49. Thank you

  50. Thanks to all the rescurers and hopefuly the woman gets help this way she does not do it all over again.. And I wish all the dogs get healthy and loving homes

  51. Thank You, LORD & ALL the wonderful volunteers who care.

  52. Chris says on  07/05/2012 at 10:42 pm

    Humans….(Rolling my eyes)

  53. Teri says on  07/05/2012 at 10:48 pm

    Thank You!!!!

  54. Joanna says on  07/05/2012 at 10:50 pm

    NOT EVEN 2% of the population are hoarders. we are watching to see how many of these dogs are eu”d, that very well could be treated and adoptable

  55. Anonymous says on  07/05/2012 at 10:52 pm

    Can never understand these people who abuse animals…and back here in England, most of the time they only get a ban of animals..need tougher sentanceing for animal cruelty, we need to protect them from this vile people…..

  56. RaiseMoreHell says on  07/05/2012 at 11:02 pm

    My first reaction is anger and a desire that these fools be locked up. On reflection though, with a problem of this magnitude and duration, these people have serious mental problems. They probably wouldn’t understand incarceration any more than the dogs did. And in America, they will get no treatment, at best some pills of dubious utility. I agree, the story of the people needs to be told.

  57. Cynthia says on  07/06/2012 at 9:58 am

    God bless you. All those poor babies are now going to be able to have and feel love. I don’t understand how people can be that Sy to a creature that gives you nothing but unconditional love.

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