Seaford man charged in animal cruelty case

SEAFORD – Officers from the Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare last week made an arrest in a recent case in which 32 neglected animals were rescued from a residence in the Seaford area.

Donald Eilander of Seaford was arrested without incident Friday, Oct. 13. Eilander was arraigned on 449 charges, including felony animal cruelty at Justice of the Peace Court No. 3 in Georgetown. He is currently free on bail, terms of which are set by the court.

One of the severely neglected animals receiving treatment at Brandywine Valley SPCA.

The arrest comes after a case of animal cruelty was discovered by the Office of Animal Welfare’s Delaware Animal Services (DAS) unit, which enforces statewide animal control and cruelty laws.

Acting on an Oct. 8 call to the agency’s dispatch line, officers responded to investigate.

DAS obtained and executed a search warrant to enter the property where animal welfare officers found 43 deceased dogs and rescued another 32 animals, many of which were severely ill.

Thirty-one dogs and one cat were taken into custody and transported by DAS officers to an emergency veterinary hospital.  One dog had to be euthanized, and another has since died.  The remaining 29 dogs and one cat continue to recover at Brandywine Valley SPCA, the state’s contracted shelter provider.

“The inhumane conditions that we found the animals in was absolutely appalling and is inexcusable,” said Mark Tobin, Chief of Delaware Animal Services.  “It’s a miracle any of the animals survived, and we are grateful we could get there in time for those that needed help so desperately.”

Of the survivors, all but a few of the animals were severely emaciated and malnourished, and suffering from various other health concerns as a result of their neglect.

Mostly small dog breeds, their fur was matted so badly they could not move. The animals have since been groomed and are on a special feeding program.  They will be placed for adoption once they are fully recovered and medically cleared.

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