WESTMINSTER, Md. — A three-year-old dalmatian---'James' emerges from the Humane Society of Carroll County with his previous owners.
He's one of 27 dogs, which survived a house of horrors in Hampstead where twenty-seven others died in their own filth.
"I'm overjoyed to have my dog and I'm very thankful for all of the work that the county has done for these dogs,” said Janie Vila, “I couldn't be more grateful."
Fifteen of the dogs rescued from the house on Black Rock Road had micro-chips, which make such reunions possible.
"This today made everything okay,” said Karen Baker, the executive director of the Humane Society, “Today is the reward for what we face on a day-to-day basis. Today makes it all worth it."
Some of the animals are experiencing the outdoors for the first time and with food, exercise some much-needed care, they are well on their way to recovery.
49-year-old John Roberts and 55-year-old Laura Filler already faced more than 50 animal cruelty charges before workers discovered another 16 dead dogs this week, many of which had been tossed into a backyard shed in plastic bags as if they were trash.
"We want the maximum penalty---the maximum the state allows, and we will not stop fighting for justice for these animals," said Holly Oertel, an animal advocate.
Oertel has been in contact with the owner of the house who was sickened by the gruesome discovery and has now brought in workers to board up the rental property, which she describes as a total loss.
But in the wake of one of the county's worst animal cruelty cases, there is now hope that half of the hoard of dogs will recover fully, if only the same could be said for the people who once called them their own.
"It's emotional for these owners,” said Baker, “They are not getting the animals back in the condition that they last saw them."
James was separated from his owner Janie for a year and a half.
"I really want to go home and be with my dog,” said Vila, “That's what I really want to do right now."