A drug investigation led sheriffs officials in Polk County, Florida to discover 47 dogs kept in horrible conditions by a local couple.
The Lakeland Ledger reported on Monday that 49-year-old Randall Huggins and 55-year-old Bernice Walskey were arrested on May 3 on 40 counts apiece of confining an animal without sufficient food in their Auburndale home. Authorities also accused Walskey of making and selling synthetic marijuana after discovering 14 pounds of “herbal alternatives to marijuana” and chemicals used to make the synthetic pot, which Walskey told deputies made her about $200 a week in sales.
“They were living in their own excrement, their own urine,” a Polk County Sheriffs Office spokesperson, Donna Wood, told WTVT-TV. “There was food in the house, but as to how often they were being fed, that’s in question.”
Most of the animals were found to be near starvation or suffering from skin conditions. The dogs were allegedly kept in crates stacked on top of one another. Authorities said the couple ended up with that many dogs as part of a breeding “hobby” that got out of control. The newspaper reported that animal control officials visited the suspects in 2010 and 2012 in response to complaints from neighbors but found no evidence of wrongdoing. However, the couple surrendered all of the animals to authorities after Friday’s arrest.
Walskey was released from jail on Monday after posting a $22,250 bond. Huggins was still in jail as of Monday afternoon on a $20,000 bond.
Watch WTVT’s report on the case, aired Monday, below.