About 80 dogs rescued from alleged hoarders in Murray County [video]

About 80 dogs rescued from alleged hoarders in Murray County [video]

May 23rd, 2018 by Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

About 80 dogs were rescued Wednesday, May 23, 2018, from a severe hoarding situation at a home in Murray County, Georgia, according to authorities. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Harris/Atlanta Humane Society)

Photo by Amanda Harris/Atlanta Humane Society

This story was updated May 23, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

About 80 dogs were rescued Wednesday from a severe hoarding situation at a home in Murray County, Georgia, according to authorities.

Some dogs were missing limbs and eyes, were covered in fleas, had matted fur and suffered from skin conditions and mange, said Atlanta Humane Society spokeswoman Christina Hill. No dead animals were found on the 1-acre property, she said.

About 80 dogs were rescued Wednesday, May 23, 2018, from a severe hoarding situation at a home in Murray County, Georgia, according to authorities. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Harris/Atlanta Humane Society)

About 80 dogs were rescued Wednesday, May 23,...

Photo by Amanda Harris/Atlanta Humane Society

"The living conditions of the animals was less than ideal," Hill said. "... They're living in their own filth. They're eating their own fecal matter, so parasites are very common in animals like this."

She said it's not yet clear if the dogs were born missing extremities or if something happened to them. Those kinds of deformities sometimes occur in cases of inbreeding.

As for the missing eyes, she said it could be the result of an untreated eye infection.

"We have to evaluate them a little bit more," Hill said. "They've been living in the mud. They're dirty. Until we get a closer look at them, we won't have a clear idea of what happened to them."

The dogs were kept both inside and outside the home, where a married couple lives. Hill said the dogs that were outside were actually in better condition than the ones inside.

Murray County Sheriff's Office has not yet identified the couple, who face charges of animal cruelty pending the investigation.

Chief Deputy Jimmy Davenport said an arrest has not yet been made. Deputies are awaiting more specific information about each individual dog, such as how developed the dog was according to its age and what kind of health conditions were recorded.

Authorities were alerted on Monday after an anonymous tipster reported an animal hoarding case and possible puppy mill to animal control. Murray County sheriff's deputies filed the complaint, and on Tuesday, investigators had enough information to obtain a search warrant.

But the number of dogs found on the property was so overwhelming, local animal control officers had to call the Atlanta Humane Society for help.

About 80 dogs were rescued Wednesday, May 23, 2018, from a severe hoarding situation at a home in Murray County, Georgia, according to authorities. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Harris/Atlanta Humane Society)

About 80 dogs were rescued Wednesday, May 23,...

Photo by Amanda Harris/Atlanta Humane Society

"It was an array of dogs," Davenport said. "I couldn't even begin to list the breeds."

He said that, so far, the case appears to only be a severe hoarding situation, as investigators haven't found signs of planned breeding that would indicate a puppy mill.

By Wednesday at 9 a.m., humane society volunteers were on the ground assessing the condition of each dog and loading them up to make the drive back to Atlanta for further treatment and rehabilitation.

Most of the dogs were friendly, but a few were nervous or shy and will need more socialization, Hill said.

"Our shelter medical team will be working [Wednesday] night to review them and process them and triage the most urgent and critical cases, so there might be more things to come up," she said.

Hill said some dogs may be available for adoption as soon as this weekend, while others will need more time to rehabilitate.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.