When more than 300 dogs were removed from the One More Chance Rescue in Clark County last week, Union County animal welfare officers and county officials were there to lend a hand.

When more than 300 dogs were removed from the One More Chance Rescue in Clark County last week, Union County animal welfare officers and county officials were there to lend a hand.

In his time working in the animal welfare field, Union County Humane Society director Steffen Baldwin said he's never seen anything like the rescue that took place last week.

"When you hear stories about rescues with this many animals involved, you think of puppy mills, but these were all relatively large dogs in spacious living conditions - there were just too many," Baldwin said. "They were found in hog barns, not much light, but covered in filth."

Altogether, 365 dogs were taken out of Clark County on Feb. 21, with Union County dog warden Mary Beth Hall and Baldwin assisting. With no local facilities readily available to house that many animals, Hall contacted Union County officials for help. For a short time, the animals were moved to the Richwood Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening.

They have since been moved to a building on the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard.

"I couldn't just stand there and watch these dogs in the deplorable conditions," Hall said. "The (Union County) commissioners were very supportive of our efforts, but suggested trying to find a more rural location for the noisy dogs.

"The village of Richwood has always been supportive of animal rescue efforts on a daily basis, so I started contacting officials there. They welcomed us with open arms, ideas on how to solve problems and questions on how they could help more."

The first truck arrived at the Richwood Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening with 87 dogs. The decision was made to move the dogs closer to veterinary resources in Franklin County, Baldwin said.

The animal removal was conducted by the Clark County Humane Society, EMA and Health Department, along with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and animal welfare officials from Union, Franklin, Logan, Madison and Montgomery counties. Baldwin said it took more than 30 volunteers helping out for 19 hours to secure each dog, check it for illnesses and vaccinate the animals. Of the 367 live animals found, only one dog had to be euthanized, he said.

Baldwin said the animals were housed in individual crates for transportation, which was handled by the ASPCA's Animal Cruelty Task Force.

"It was an extremely efficient process -- that's what the ASPCA does," Baldwin said. "I was just a worker to help out, but it was cool to be a part of it all."

Baldwin said an official investigation is being conducted.

He added that while the sheer number of dogs found in one location was staggering, most of them were relatively well-behaved.

"A lot of the dogs were very sweet, just unsocialized to people," he said. "There was an older German shepherd that was missing his front right leg, and when I sat down in his pen, he hobbled over and put his head in my lap, his tail wagging. A lot of them were really sweet, just scared."

The ASPCA is continuing to provide ground support throughout the process, which is expected to last at least two weeks.

Anyone interested in helping out or learning more should contact the Clark County Humane Society at www.clarkhumane.org.