277 animals temporarily housed at Clay County Fairgrounds amid animal seizure investigation

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — 277 animals taken from a one-acre piece of property in Clay County have a new home for now.

The county has put the dogs, chickens, goats, turtles, bunnies, and pigs up in a barn at the county fairgrounds while the investigation continues.

Action News Jax got a first-hand look at the animals Friday. ”Everybody down here is housed. Each dog has got their own kennel to stay in,” Morgan Grove, volunteer coordinator for the Board of Clay County said.

Grove says the roughly 100 dogs were terrified when they first came to the fairgrounds after their seizure. ”A lot of fearful dogs hiding in the back of their cages, trembling, covered in feces, urine,” she said.

Grove says skeletal remains were found on the property the animals came from.

Looking toward better days, the animals will be at the fairgrounds for the next six to eight weeks, the county’s emergency management team said. Grove is among many volunteers giving the animals the love and care they’ve needed for so long.

The emergency management team says once the Clay County Sheriff’s Office finishes investigating the case, the animals will be officially handed over to the county. At that point, they’ll be spayed and neutered, and around 80 of the dogs will get much-needed dental care.

”Everybody’s nice and healthy-looking, fed, bellies are full,” Grove told us. She says the operation couldn’t have been done without the community’s help.

Locals donated money, crates, bedding, and food. But it’s still going to cost the county. ”We were in the area of almost $70,000 dollars,” John Ward, Director of Emergency Management said.

A group of volunteers like Grove clean and feed the animals once a day. Veterinarians check their health and progress, Grove said.

”Considering everything going on, everybody is in pretty good spirits,” she added.

What amazes her the most is the animals’ resilience. It’s clear -- they have bright futures ahead of them.