Authorities in west Tennessee arrested two California women during a traffic stop Tuesday morning in Memphis after finding more than 100 dogs crammed into a U-Haul trailer and 25 more in the minivan towing it.
According to the report form the district attorney general in Shelby County, some of the animals were in cages but many were loose inside the cargo compartment which was covered in urine and feces.
In addition, the animals appeared to be malnourished and had no food or water.
"They had them all crammed in the crates and some where running loose," Gina Thweatt of Fayette County Animal Rescue said, adding, "Some have some bite wounds, some are bleeding [and] some are coughing."
There was also one cat in the U-Haul.
The driver of the minivan, Bonnie Sheeman, 55, and her passenger, Pamela A. King-McCracken, 57, were arrested and each charged with aggravated animal cruelty.
Sheeman and King-McCracken told investigators that they were on their way to Virginia from Long Beach, California.
Both claimed to be with Hearts for Hounds, a group that rescues animals and were looking for safe homes for the animals.
Thweat said she believes the women were working with a puppy mill.
"First of all, a reputable rescue group wouldn't do that. These dogs themselves needed to be rescued," she said.
Fayette County Animal Rescue and Collierville Animal Control, with assistance of the Shelby County ASPCA took custody of the animals.