BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) - Animal control seized 143 animals from a Lee County home Friday, rescuing several different species from the worst conditions one official said he's ever seen.
A little dog's nose sniffed the air after being freed, having never known air could smell so fresh. He's one of 61 dogs being nursed back to health at the animal shelter in Lee County after being rescued from the Bishopville house Friday morning.
Lee Co. Animal Control's John Muldrow went to the house after getting an anonymous tip about a strong odor. When Muldrow arrived, he found the animals locked up in "deplorable conditions." "It was the worst thing I had ever seen as far as a home," said Muldrow.
Animal control seized 61 dogs, 26 of which were being kept inside on the filthiest floor imaginable. Eight of the dogs were puppies, anywhere from two days to 12 weeks old. All were kept inside, and all are Shih Tzus.
"Absolutely just terrible conditions," described Muldrow. "Feces, urine."
Authorities also seized ten cats which were also being kept inside. On top of that, they also seized 26 chickens, 45 pigeons and a rabbit.
There were high levels of methane and ammonia gases, and feces everywhere. Muldrow said they was the worst conditions he's ever seen, with much less food and water than the animals needed.
Muldrow says many of these animals would have died from the fumes.
"You couldn't stay in that home no more than 15 minutes before you had to come out for air," he said.
Animal control says the homeowner was there when they arrived. He explained he lives there part time, and wanted to breed puppies to sell. The homeowner said the situation got overwhelming, admitting he should have called for help much earlier.
The puppies have been taken to the Lee County Animal Shelter in Bishopville, and Muldrow said authorities want people to adopt the puppies. In addition to the Shih Tzu puppies, there were also poodles, Chihuahuas and Pekingese.
Investigators are still deciding if they'll press charges. Meanwhile, volunteers are giving fresh food to the animals and lots of love.
"Most of the animals can be saved and they need to go to good homes," said Muldrow.
Dozens of faces with a chance to see a different way.
If you'd like to adopt any of the rescued animals, you can call the Lee County Animal Shelter at 428-2077.