NEWKIRK — Undersheriff Steve Kelley is overrun with dog food.
More than 350 bags have been donated to the Kay County sheriff’s office since deputies discovered more than 100 allegedly neglected and abused pit bull terriers at a farm outside Newkirk. More than $3,500 in cash has been donated, he said.
Kelley is asking donors to keep their money and gifts for now.
"We’re running out of room,” Kelley said.
The sheriff’s office has received hay, doghouses, bowls, shots and enough food for about a month.
Jerry Southern, 36, of Wichita, Kan., is leasing the land where the dogs were found. He was arrested last week on 106 complaints of animal cruelty and dogfighting. Southern is due in court for an initial appearance Dec. 17.
Authorities haven’t been able to track down the woman who owns the land, Kelley said.
So far, 102 of the 107 dogs found on the farm have survived, Kelley said. One puppy was found dead on the scene. Two others were euthanized. Two dogs have died.
The dogs are in county custody until a court order expected this week decides their fate, Kelley said.
"They’re doing fine now,” Kelley said.
Most of the donations have come from Oklahomans, Kelley said. Many people also are donating time by caring for the dogs. The nine deputies are pressed for time as it is, Kelley said, so volunteers have been a big help.
"If it wasn’t for all the volunteers coming out to take care of the animals,” he said, "we wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Authorities found the dogs malnourished and chained to metal poles after an anonymous tip pointed them to the farm.
"People have seen what these dogs are going through,” Kelley said, "and they really have come to assist us.”