Law enforcement officers said more than 100 dogs have been rescued from what they have described as deplorable conditions inside an Altamonte Springs home.
The Altamonte Springs Fire Department on Thursday received an anonymous tip from a caller who expressed concern about multiple dogs at a house in the San Sebastian Hills subdivision. Animal services workers and volunteers said they were not prepared for what they found when they arrived.
They said they discovered the dogs, many of them emaciated or malnourished, living right on top of one another. They said the conditions inside the home were so bad, they were forced to wear hazardous material suits. The owner of the animals, a legally blind man, was living in the garage of the house as the rest of his home was "overrun" with dogs, according to investigators.
"The house, you could not even navigate through," said Altamonte Springs Police spokesman Robert Pelton. "They're living in every room, every space inside the house."
Teams of Seminole County Animal Services workers spent the day removing the dogs from the house, making several trips with huge trailers to cart them all away safely.
"There are litters," Officer Pelton said. "There are dogs living upon dogs. They're stacked very deep."
Altamonte Springs police counted more than 100 small dogs, all living in horrible conditions. The house was covered in feces and garbage, investigators said.
"I have never in my 12 years in law enforcement seen anything this bad," Officer Pelton said, "and as I'm standing here speaking to you, I can smell the house from across the street."
Earlier in the day, the Altamonte Springs Police Department told FOX 35 that at least a dozen dogs found inside the home were dead. A spokesman for the department said it was later determined that none of the dogs had died. Many of them are weak but still alive, which is why the owner will not face animal cruelty charges, police tell us.
The dogs are being taken to Seminole County Animal Control for evaluation.