4 arrested in drug raid at Tuscaloosa K9 camp

BERRY, Ala. (WIAT) – A drug raid at a canine training camp has escalated into an animal abuse investigation. Four employees of the Tuscaloosa K-9 Training Academy, or Camp Mayhem, were arrested on Wednesday on marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges.

Investigators say they conducted undercover buys at the training facility, which also included methamphetamine. They do not believe the meth was manufactured at the dog training camp.

While on site during the raid, investigators also discovered the bodies of several dogs in a freezer on the property. Many of the other animals also showed signs of poor health.

Veterinarians and employees of the local humane society came to Came Mayhem on Thursday to evaluate the health of over 130 dogs that were on the property. Cats, kittens, goats, and pigs were also located.

Veterinarian, Jimmy Canant, says it’s probably the worst abuse case he’s ever seen. “Some of the dogs are in bad shape,” Canant explains. “The smell was incredible inside the buildings. Some of the outside runs were okay, but inside, just filth and environmental conditions were unbelievably bad.”

Canant says some of the dogs had injuries, skin conditions, respiratory conditions, and eye conditions. However, he was most concerned about the number of animals locked in small crates in such tight quarters. “It looks like a hordingsituation to me,” he says.  “Now I’m not a professional in that area, but I look strictly at their health, and this is a very unhealthy environment.”

Some of the animals are family pets who were sent to the facility for obedience training. Those owners are not able to be reunited with their pets yet.  “Because we’re still working the case,”says task force commander, Richard White.  “And I apologize for that, it just takes a while to get this all done.”  White recommends that any owners that have pets at Camp Mayhem should get forms of identification ready for when the animals are released.

Heather Litz, Bryan McQueen, Charles Vance, and Nancy Vance are currently in the Fayette County jail.  No bond has been set yet for their release.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s office plans to release more information as soon as it is available on how pet owners can be reunited with their animals.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS

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