On March 3, deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office discovered a heartbreaking scene after entering a home and finding over a dozen dogs living in deplorable conditions.
The owner of the dogs, an unnamed 74-year-old woman, had fallen and had to be hospitalized. Neighbors checking on her dogs noted the conditions and called the sheriff’s office.
Based on the evidence provided by those neighbors, deputies were able to obtain a search warrant and entered the home in Eagle Mountain, Utah, along with animal shelter staff.
They were met by an “overwhelming odor of animal feces and urine,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.
Fourteen dogs of varying ages were in the home, and Sgt. Spencer Cannon said they were not the “cuddly kind of dogs that want to have their ear scratched,” they were “almost feral,” according to KTSU-TV.
One deputy was bitten in the ankle, though his boot protected him, and an animal shelter employee was also bitten.
In addition to the living dogs, there was also one dead dog near a kennel in the house — and that wasn’t all.
“Deputies found 15 dead dogs inside a freezer in ziploc style bags, with a few dogs in grocery bags,” the sheriff’s office said.
“It’s disturbing, it’s kind of sad that somebody would have these dogs and either not have the ability to care for them or, or the desire to care for them. Treating animals this way is not OK,” Cannon said, according to KUTV-TV.
One of the photos shared by the sheriff’s office showed that a room inside the house was 100 degrees because of a space heater.
In 2014, authorities were denied a request to inspect the woman’s home. In 2018, they were able to enter and remove the 14 dogs they found in the home “under similar circumstances.”
Apparently, by law, the woman was able to reclaim four dogs, so she did, leading to the conditions the deputies found in the home this month.
The 14 dogs found on March 3 were taken to the North Utah County Animal Shelter.
“Deputies have submitted the case against this 74 year old woman to the Utah County Attorney’s Office requesting 16 charges of class A misdemeanor animal cruelty for the dogs that died, and 14 charges of class B misdemeanor animal cruelty for the dogs that were alive,” the sheriff’s department said.
Authorities said they hoped that pressing charges would prevent her from obtaining any further animals.
Many have lashed out at the owner, while others have asked for compassion.
Some commented on the sheriff’s office’s post to suggest that she had dementia and that she had no family to check on her. Others said neighbors have been trying to help her for years but she has refused help.
Whatever the case, hopefully, the woman and the dogs will now get the help they need.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.