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DHSS Press Release

Josette Manning, Secretary
Jen Brestel, Director of Communications  

DPH Media Relations Coordinator Contact:
Laura Matusheski

Date: August 28, 2023


DOVER, Del. (August 28, 2023) - Delaware Animal Services (DAS), the enforcement unit within the Office of Animal Welfare, announces the arrest of a man and a woman involved in an animal cruelty case.

On Aug. 25, 2023, Delaware State Police (DSP) Troop 7 received a tip from a concerned citizen that Dillon Hensey, age 32, and his wife, Chelsie Puckett, age 33, were seen in the parking lot of 19791 Coastal Hwy Rehoboth Beach, Del. DSP responded to the area and located Hensey and Puckett parked in their SUV. Delaware Animal Services responded to assist with the arrest. Upon arrival, animal welfare officers found 14 more dogs living in the couple's SUV. The vehicle was full of trash, feces and debris. The 14 dogs were seized by animal welfare officers and transported to Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) for care.

Hensey was taken into custody for the outstanding animal cruelty charges, while Puckett was taken into custody on unrelated charges. Both were arraigned at Troop 7 on August 25. The couple is prohibited from owning or possessing animals pending outcome of the case.

Hensey was wanted for abandoning 34 small breed dogs in deplorable conditions in a Lewes home in early August. He failed to turn himself in to DAS enforcement officers on multiple occasions.

The 34 dogs that were seized on Aug. 8 were turned over to BVSPCA's care. Thirty of the 34 dogs have been adopted and are now in loving homes, and four are in foster care. BVSPCA hopes to make some of the 14 dogs seized last week available for adoption as soon as Wednesday.

The Office of Animal Welfare thanks the public for their tips as well as Delaware State Police for their cooperation with locating the suspects in this case.

Animal Cruelty Complaints

Cruelty and neglect of animals is against the law ( If you are concerned about an animal's welfare and suspect cruelty or neglect, contact OAW's Delaware Animal Services section immediately at 302-255-4646 or report online at

Dillon Hensey
Chelsie Puckett

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its outstanding dedication to driving change through innovation.

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Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.