34 dogs rescued off property of Omaha, Ark. man charged with sexual assault

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Ark. (KY3) - Thirty-four starving dogs covered in fleas and ticks are hopefully now going to find a forever home.

”Wherever they end up, they’ll receive an exam and vetting. And we’ll look at what we can do to stabilize their condition. If they’re starving, we’ll start slowly introducing them to food,” said Cole Wakefield, the director of animal services at Good Shepherd Humane Society.

Six north Arkansas rescue organizations got the 34 dogs from the property off Old Highway 65 in Omaha.

“Whenever the vans started pulling in this morning, I was just kind of blown away. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said April Benefiel, the victim witness coordinator for the 14th judicial district.

The dogs were discovered after Boone County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 73-year-old Hershel Periman of Omaha last week on second degree sexual assault charges.

Days later, they discovered the dogs.

”We served a search warrant on the house and realized that there were all these dogs starving to death,” Benefiel said.

But the deputies and the prosecuting attorney’s office couldn’t get the dogs by themselves, so they sent out an SOS.

”This is an operation that is so large that you can’t do it by yourself, which is why we are very happy to have so many other partner organizations from the region join us,” Wakefield said.

Good Shepherd Humane Society, Ozark Humane Society, Spay Arkansas, Wilson Zoo, Best Friends Animal Society, and Animal League were the six organizations that came to help.

Each organization will take a few to as many as 10 dogs, and hopefully they’ll be able to recover and be placed for adoption.

”We’re not going to allow our kids to be abused - but we’re also not going to let thirty plus dogs sit and starve to death either,” Benefiel said.

Periman has not been charged with animal cruelty yet, but he could face those charges in the near future.

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