38 dogs seized from Fuquay-Varina home, woman charged with animal cruelty

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 70-year-old Fuquay-Varina woman has been charged with animal cruelty after 38 dogs were seized from her home.

Deborahsue Gehlken-Raby was arrested on Saturday.

According to search warrants, Wake County Animal Control got a call from the NC State Veterinary School on Feb. 26 after the staff noted a strong odor of urine on the dogs.

The next day, animal control went to Gehlken-Raby's home on N Ennis Street. The search warrant said her daughter let 25 dogs out into the backyard, although, animal control could hear more dogs barking inside the residence.

Investigators said they found evidence of animal hoarding inside the home and unsanitary living conditions.

"Excessive animals can be a common problem in the community," said Dr. Sandra Strong, of the Wake County Animal Center. "People are trying to help animals or trying to place rescue animals and can easily get overwhelmed with how to care for them and how to keep them clean and the environment."

She turned over all but eight animals, which are now being housed at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, according to Animal Services Director Jennifer Federico.

Gehlken-Raby did not answer her door or respond to ABC11's phone call. She is due in court April 8.

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