Polk drug search leads to dozens of dogs living in squalor - FOX 35 News Orlando

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Polk drug search leads to dozens of dogs living in squalor

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Deputies investigating a tip about possible drug activity at a Polk County home Friday found more than 40 dogs living in "deplorable conditions," investigators said.

Randall Keith Huggins, 49, and Bernice Mae Walskey, 55, both of Auburndale were arrested and charged with 40 counts of animal cruelty. Walskey also faces drug-possession charges.

According to a Sheriff's Office report:

Deputies went to their home on Owens Road on Friday night after receiving a tip. Huggins allowed them to search the property, they said.

While there, they found 47 dogs, mostly dachshunds, living in tiny, cages stacked four high, standing in their own feces and urine and with no food and water. Deputies said the dogs had not been provided room for exercise, and many suffered from malnutrition, parasites and skin conditions.

Four pit bulls and a wolf hybrid were also handed over to officials.

Neighbors told Fox 13 Tampa Bay that they frequently heard yapping, yelping and barking. They said they knew the couple who lived in the mobile home had dogs but had no idea how many.

"I kept saying to myself, 'Why don't they shut those dogs up?' " Chris Turlington said.

A K-9 unit alerted to the scent of narcotics in Walskey's vehicle, and drug-packing items were found in the home, they said.

The Polk Sheriff's Office has investigated the couple for possible animal abuse twice in the past two years. A spokesperson for the agency said the dogs had food, water and seemed healthy.

Fox 13 Polk Bureau reporter Ken Suarez contributed to this report.

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