A case of animal cruelty in south Nashville forces Metro Animal Control officers to seize 54 animals, including 43 rats. 

The animals were rescued Monday after someone phoned in an anonymous tip that they were in bad shape. 

Monday afternoon, MACC officers arrived at the Elm Hill Pike storage facility 

Lead field officer Cory Wells with MACC told news 2 it was so filthy, officers had to wear protective gear. 

“We actually wore Tyvek suits and masks.” 

Inside the small office, officers discovered 54 animals, including 43 rats, being housed in filthy conditions. 

PHOTOS: 54 animals seized from east Nashville couple

According to investigators, the business is run by Colleen and Michael White. 

 The couple is now charged with animal cruelty. 

“The husband said it got out of hand, they loved the animals and kept collecting them and hated to let them go,” said Wells.  

Officers find seven cats, and four dogs in deplorable conditions 

Wells said, “Inches thick full of feces, no food, the water was stagnant and had dead flies in it.”  

Officials said 43 rats were filthy, stuffed into six cages.  

“The bottom of the cages were inches thick with feces and cock roaches,” wells said.   

Amazingly, the animals are now cleaned and responsive, and ready for adoption. 

“Rats make good small pets, intelligent and do great in pairs versus singles,” said Wells.  

The couple surrendered the animals 

They are all available for adoption during this weekend’s mother day adoption sale down at the Metro Animal Control office.