GLEN ST. MARY, Fla. – Hunting season has wrapped up in parts of Baker County, but it's what some people leave behind that has community members upset.
Dozens of abandoned hunting hounds have been recovered from parks and hunting grounds because of a practice called “hound dumping,” authorities said.
They said hunters abandon their dogs in the woods at the end of hunting season.
The London Sanctuary, a local rescue, is stepping in to help, along with Baker County Animal Control, but with limited resources, they are overwhelmed with the dogs.
If they don't find forever or foster homes for the animals, some will have to be euthanized.
Connie Cannaday, vice president of The London Sanctuary in Glen St. Mary, said the issue of hound dumping has gotten worse. She said at least 100 hounds were dumped in the past year.
Some people here in Baker County tell me the problem has gotten worse.
"It's very frustrating, time-consuming, expensive, because the ones that are left out here -- they might be young dogs, maybe they don't hunt -- no need for them. Or we found older dogs -- they may have been good hunting dogs but their time is up,” Cannaday said.
Other dogs might have wandered off, she said.
Many of the animals end up in dog boxes set up around Baker County. Volunteers with The London Sanctuary put food, bowls and hay in the boxes to help keep the dogs a little more comfortable until they can be picked up.
"They're almost always emaciated, severely emaciated,” Cannaday said. “Many of them have skin issues like mange or scratches, tears."
Some even had broken legs and gunshot wounds.
Cannaday and other volunteers and rescue groups are fostering about 40 dogs, including Brando, who was wearing a cone because he just got neutered.
"He just came out of the forest two weeks ago, not far from here,” Cannaday said.
Volunteers, like Amber Godwin, said it's heartbreaking to see the conditions of some of the dogs
"I just don't see the reason for it. I feel like if you have a dog, then you need to be responsible for it,” Godwin said. “Not something you can just have when it's convenient. They're a lifetime commitment."
The Cannaday family is part of the Baker County Animal Advisory Committee and hopes to come up with some strategies to cut down on "hound dumping" in the area.