WHITE PINE (WATE) - Dozens of animals were seized Saturday from a Hamblen County rescue group.
The owner of the Puppy Patch in White Pine, Melissa Turner, was arrested Friday and charged with animal cruelty.
Animal Rescue Corps raided the house, saying 73 dogs and two cats were living inside in horrible conditions.
"We got a call from the local authorities here that they stumbled across a situation of horrendous suffering of many dogs and this is what we do," said Scotlund Haisley, President of Animal Rescue Corps.
They arrived about 6 p.m. Saturday evening, having no idea what they could be walking into.
"We had about six loose dogs in the house that we could remove just so we could start working," said Haisley.
When officials and volunteers with Animal Rescue Corps entered what was called The Puppy Patch Rescue Group, they say they found at least 60 dogs of various sizes and ages, a few cats and some tropical fish all living in horrible conditions.
"There are several inches of feces on the ground, urine. Clearly these animals have not been given any care in quite some time. They're stacked on top of one another. We're seeing symptoms of internal and external parasites, upper respiratory infections, dogs with missing limbs," said Haisley.
The animals were re-crated and loaded them into vans to be taken to an emergency shelter in Lebanon, Tennessee.
"We do not own these animals. We are seizing them under the authority of the authorities, but I'm confident that we have a very strong case here of animal cruelty," said Haisley.
They hope to eventually get them healthy and adopted out throughout the country after presenting all their findings as evidence for animal cruelty.
"It truly is remarkable to see them in these conditions tonight and their fear of the unknown, and then within two days' time we're watching them turn into the dogs they've never had the opportunity to be," said Haisley.
Animal Rescue Corps. says it will probably take about two days to have them all looked at by a vet.
An official with Animal Rescue Corps told 6 News Sunday the animals are doing well and "really coming out of their shells."
They also said some of the dogs had dog tags on them, and they will check to see if they can trace where those dogs came from.
Kimberly Turner was also arrested. Both women face 63 counts of animal cruelty.
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