Three weeks after 83 dogs and one cat were seized from a rowhome in Northwest Baltimore, just two of the animals are still searching for a permanent home.

The cat, dubbed Sponge Cake, and an adult dog named Funfetti, are both waiting for their fur-ever home, according to officials from the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, or BARCS.

Funfetti is “a bit shy” but she’s got a “sweet and goofy personality,” according to the shelter’s adoption website. The shelter doesn’t list any information about Sponge Cake, but she’s in a foster home waiting to be adopted.

“The pittie and the middle-aged tabby cat is kind of the story of BARCS,” said Bailey Deacon, a spokesperson for the organization. “The little guys get scooped up immediately. And now it’s our job at the shelter to make sure the Sponge Cake and Funfetti find a home.”

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Deacon said 47 dogs from the initial rescue had been adopted and 35, mostly under-aged puppies, have been sent to rescues. BARCS will often name groups of animals that come in at once as a group. These dogs were “the cakes,” each one referred to as Cake with a number.

Baltimore City Sheriff Sam Cogen said his office was actively investigating the case, but that no charges have been filed. The animals were being kept in an unsafe and unhealthy environment, officials said. Some were covered in excrement and insects and the air quality where they were found was “dismal.”

In the immediate aftermath of the seizure, BARCS established a veterinary triage to handle the influx. They had to hire contract veterinarians and vet techs to help.

The shelter has “leveled out” since then, Deacon said, but that doesn’t mean the shelter isn’t overwhelmed.

“There’s never a lazy day at BARCS,” she said.

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The shelter works with Baltimore City Office of Animal Control every day, she said — more than 50% of the animals that come into the shelter are through animal control. And even though BARCS is a nonprofit, not a city agency, it is responsible for the care of every animal brought in by animal control in Baltimore.

It’s also an open-admission shelter, meaning BARCS accepts and cares for every single animal that winds up at its door — which can include medical costs, in addition to staff time and supplies. The average care cost for each dog that enters the shelter is $350, Deacon said.

BARCS took in 5,303 dogs and 5,781 cats last year, according to its 2023 sheltering report.

And while the rescue of all of the Cakes was harrowing, Deacon said the wave of support that it brought to the shelter was powerful — and needed. People donated to the medical fund, signed up to volunteer and adopted animals, Deacon said, all of which helped the shelter carry on.

“That support is what keeps everybody going at BARCS. Literally and figuratively,” she said. “Nobody at BARCS could do it without having that overwhelming positive support.”

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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