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Nationwide outrage continues for Wythe County 'dogs in a box' neglect

Thursday morning's weather forecasters for Wythe County, Virginia issued a winter storm warning predicting over a foot of snow and temperatures dipping to -5 degrees. Eleven dogs, however, despite the dangerously frigid temperatures, continue to live on a distressed property located on Walton Furnace Road, Max Meadows in what has been referred to by humane advocates as a dungeon.

Although the photos are from a few years ago, the dogs still remain in the same substandard conditions and reported to still be living in filth and feces.
Free the Dogs in a Box Facebook

The dogs are owned by Mike Thomas who has refused to surrender the animals. The property is alleged to be without running water or heat.

According to, county officials maintain the dogs' welfare continues to be monitored by local animal control officers. Jeremy Farley, the spokesperson for the county stated:

“Over the past week, the county has been inundated with calls and emails regarding this situation. An overwhelming number of these calls have come from out-of-state and even international sources."

Farley continued:

"As recently as September, animal control officers checked on the dogs and found them to be legally tagged, with shots up to date and in adequate condition. Animal control officers also stated that a veterinarian made visits to the dogs this fall to provide basic check-ups and care to the animals.”

Animal advocates disagree. A social media page on Facebook called Help Save the Dogs Left in a Box are pressing for better laws to provide pets with acceptable care and treatment.

This tragic story dates back to 2010 when 12 dogs living in the makeshift structure full of feces and urine drew hundreds of complaints from area residents. The Wythe County Humane Society volunteered to go to the property and treat the dogs for severe flea infestations. Reports flooded in of other dogs dying from flea related anemia.

Photos of the dogs heavily infested with fleas being bathed by volunteers circulated throughout social media.

Since that time, the photos taken of the dogs and their living conditions have not been updated; the owner of the dogs denies access to anyone trying to enter the property except county officials who state the dogs are licensed and appropriately vaccinated for rabies.

A new video is now available.

Advocates have gone to state officials and have been directed back to Wythe County and Animal Control, but refuse to give up until these dogs are rescued. Posted on the group's Facebook page just moments ago:


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