Authorities in Hamblen County received help from an international animal protection agency Saturday when they found 75 animals living in deplorable conditions.
The home, located four hours east of Nashville in Morristown, was the size of a two-car garage, had some of the highest ammonia levels officials have encountered, and contained 73 dogs and two cats, only five of which were outside.
Police responded the home Friday after receiving complaints the owners claimed to be operating an animal rescue organization.
Upon discovering the conditions of the home and the number of animals, officials called the Animal Rescue Corps for assistance.
President Scotlund Haisley said he didn't see any signs of a rescue operation, just animal cruelty.
"Several inches of urine and feces throughout the property. None of them had any fresh water what so ever," he stated. "The ammonia levels in that house were incredibly high because the urine breaks down and it creates this ammonia."
Haisley added some of the rescuers even got ammonia burns.
"The conditions on the property were horrendous. It is typical of a situation like this for us, but the ammonia levels were extremely high. [It was] probably in the top two the last three years," volunteer Carver Lane explained.
Many of the dogs were kept in small, filthy crates and some were running lose. They were without access to food, water, and veterinary care.
The animals suffered severe malnourishment and were plagued by infections and parasites, some with missing limbs.
Working with Hamblen County officials, the ARC safely removed every single animal from the home.
The organization will care for the animals in an emergency shelter until custody can be determined.
"It takes a lot of people to pull off an operation like this and since it will be going for probably seven to 10 days or so we have shifts of volunteers that come in. All the people you see here are all volunteers," Lane told News 2.
All 75 animals are received full medical exams, vaccinations, and any necessary treatments by a team of local veterinarians on Sunday.
One of the two property owners and alleged rescue operators was arrested Saturday and charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty. The suspect is out on bond.