Hundreds of rescued animals prepare for forever homes

Action News Jax first told you nearly 300 animals were rescued from a home on Old Jennings Road last month.

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — Hundreds of deserving animals found their forever homes in Clay County.

“I don’t know what I’m going to name him but I may keep Jiminy, it’s like Jiminy Cricket,” Deborah Paulk said.

It was an emotional day for Deborah Paulk as she left the Clay County fairgrounds with a new Yorkie.

“They’ve got some beautiful dogs out here,” Paulk said.

She along with hundreds of others came to the fairgrounds looking for a new furry friend.

Action News Jax first told you nearly 300 animals ― including around a hundred dogs — were rescued from a home on Old Jennings Road last month. Our investigation also uncovered records of past violations on the property.

Neighbors told us the property from where the animals were recovered had been an eyesore and safety concern for years. Barnyard animals like chickens, pigs and goats roamed freely on the property, while dogs — many severely malnourished — were kept in dirty kennels.

The animals were housed at the fairgrounds for the past few weeks, during which officials said the animals were cleaned up and received medications.

“It was really amazing to see from the day we brought them in how lethargic and held back they were to two or three days later when they were getting food, getting the treatment they needed, how they kind of opened up,” Clay County Emergency Management Director John Ward said.

Soon enough, they were ready to move into loving homes.

“She’s so sweet. all the staff said she’s a very smart dog,” Jean Horton said.

Horton and her family walked out with a new dog as well.

It was also an emotional day for staffers who saw the animals from the beginning.

Ward said the county couldn’t have helped all of them without the community’s help.

“From the beginning, we’ve seen an overwhelming response from our community,” Ward said.

Now dogs like Jiminy can have their second chance at life.

“This is what I’ve been needing. I’m so happy. I’m just the happiest I could be,” Paulk said.

Officials said more than 500 people pre-registered to come to see the animals. The county brought in dozens of other dogs from the shelters for the event.