DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an animal hoarding case in Charlotte, Tennessee.

It all began Thursday when a Dickson County Sheriff’s Office deputy discovered a horse in distress on the property.

Upon further investigation, the deputy found 16 horses on private property, alongside 32 dogs in two sheds, living in deplorable conditions.

That’s when the rescue mission began.

It’s all hands on deck at the Dickson County Animal Shelter.

“So far, he’s covered in fleas, he’s emaciated,” said Dr. Paul Ulrich, Veterinarian at the Dickson County Humane Society. “Belly is a bit bloated, so we’re going to investigate that and find out why.”

Dr. Ulrich has been assessing the health of each dog from the rescue.

“We do get frustrated when sometimes we see things like this, but I need to think about these guys and getting them back to health,” he said.

The rescue team began their mission late Thursday afternoon.

Trainer Chris Relund is part of that team.

“You never know what you got into until you go out there and see for yourself,” said Relund.

Relund described the conditions as cramped, with little food and water.

“The smell of urine, stuff like that. You already know it’s bad before you walk in,” said Relund.

Humane Society Board Member Malissa Parker is calling the case a rescue operation gone wrong.

“There was good intent, but for lack of funding space, not being able to say no to the quantity of dogs,” said Parker.

The Dickson County Shelter is already at capacity with 80 dogs inside.

To make room, volunteers are setting up a side area, putting up tarp and igloos to keep out the cold.

Parker said the healthy dogs will stay in the new area, while the ones that need monitoring will stay inside.

“It’s heartbreaking to go into these types of situations,” said Parker. “But we have to remember that their life going forward – we have the ability to make a huge difference.”

The horses are now in the care of Cornerstone Veterinary in Dickson.

One of the horses had to be euthanized.

Parker says the shelter is in need of monetary donations for treatments for the dogs.

To help, go here: www.humanesocietyofdickson.com

Other items in need:

  • Pedigree Adult Dog Food
  • Pedigree Adult Cat Food
  • Pedigree Puppy Food
  • Pedigree Kitten Food
  • Dog Blankets
  • 39 Gal. Trash Bags
  • Alcohol/Peroxide
  • Pee Pads
  • Dog & cat toys
  • Paper Towels
  • Bleach