Deputies: Couple 47 Dogs in Deplorable Conditions
AUBURNDALE, Fla. (AP) - A Polk County couple surrendered 47 dogs - most of them Dachshunds - after Polk County sheriff's deputies found them stacked in cages without food and water inside an Auburndale home.
The deputies found the dogs Friday while investigating reports of drug activity at the home. Randell Huggins, 49, and Bernice Walskey, 55, were charged with 40 counts each of confining an animal without sufficient food. In addition, Walskey faces charges of making and selling synthetic marijuana, which is a felony.
According to an arrest report, Huggins, agreed to walk deputies through the house to prove the allegations weren't true. But before he let them in, he went inside to round up loose dogs.
The Ledger of Lakeland reports that Walskey, arrived pulled up while the deputies were waiting to go inside the house. A sheriff's dog detected the scent of possible drugs and deputies found two bags of "Hawaiian Haze" and "Orange Krush."
Deputies who were allowed into the home then found the dogs, stacked in cages and standing in their own feces and urine. The report said the smell was overwhelming and there were signs of fleas and many of the dogs had skin conditions.
A search of the house also turned up 14 more pounds of herbs and chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana. Deputies said the woman told them she made about $200 a week from making synthetic marijuana and that she believed she was operating on "the edge of the law."
The dogs were taken to the Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control shelter for treatment. Nine dogs were emaciated, 14 had rotten or broken teeth and one had heartworms, said sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Wood.
"We've got issues we're still working through, so it will be quite some time before we're talking about adoption," Wood said.
Wood said deputies think the couple had been breeding dogs as a hobby and it got out of control. Animal control officials had visited the house in 2010 and 2012 in response to complaints. They reported no obvious signs of neglect.
Walskey bonded of jail but Huggins remained at the Polk County Jail on Tuesday. An attorney wasn't listed on jail records.
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