UPDATE** Dakin Humane Society says the dogs are not ready for adoption yet but they will begin accepting applications from those interested to make sure they can find the right home for them, due to their special needs.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dakin Humane Society is assisting a Vermont Humane Society that recently took in 21 mistreated dogs.

According to Windham County Humane Society (WCHS), the dogs were tied up outside with inadequate shelter, frozen water bowls, and no food in sight at a Vermont residence on February 15. Sixteen of the dogs are Treeing Walker Coonhounds and five others are mixed breeds. Most of the dogs were in poor condition due to a lack of food.

A veterinarian from WCHS says some of the dogs were licking ice and eating frozen feces. Several dogs had wounds to their heads, legs, and sides.

Dakin Humane Society traveled to Vermont after receiving a request for help from the Vermont Humane Society and agreed to help in caring for four of the dogs.

“Dakin is here for tough cases like this,” stated Director of Development and Marketing Stacey Price. “These dogs will need medical care, rehabilitation and recovery time, and we can offer that. The collective effort of multiple animal welfare groups coming together saves lives and we’re pleased to be able to provide that by helping our partners at Windham County Humane Society. We know what it’s like to need help. For example, a few months ago, we took in over 50 adult cats from a hoarding situation, and just two days ago we received 54 gerbils in one intake. In both cases, the MSPCA took some of those animals into their care and helped lighten our load.”

The four dogs arrived in Springfield on Wednesday and are being evaluated and receiving medical attention. At this time the dogs are not available for adoption.

Maya Richmond, the executive director at the WCHS, said it costs about $500 to bring a dog into their shelter and that can double when they are in poor conditions so they contacted nearby humane societies for assistance.

“We understand the pressure an organization can be under to help a large number of animals, especially when there’s a significant intake of many that need intense medical care. That’s why having partnerships with other shelters in our area, and even throughout the country, works so well for the animals. Many hands working together can handle a crisis like this,” said Price.

In Vermont, it is legal to house dogs outside 24/7 but there are laws that require minimum housing and care requirements, such as the length of the tether, dog houses must be off the ground, dogs need access to water, and dogs need to be licensed.