Sheriff’s deputies arrested a northern Kentucky man accused of locking nearly two dozen dogs and cats outside in filthy, wet kennels.
Campbell County Sheriff Jeff Kidwell said his deputies were sent Friday afternoon to the home of Dennis Kramer to ask questions about a suspected puppy mill and found them in deplorable conditions.
"When we got there we were just going to do a knock and talk, but ... the smell was so bad that it would just knock you down," Kidwell said. "We then saw the kennels, and these dogs were covered in their own feces and urine."
The shivering dogs were found standing in two inches of caked feces and pooling urine in sub-freezing temperatures, and some of their paws had begun to bleed, authorities told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"It was terrible," Kidwell said. "I don't think you are ever ready to see that. I don't know how these dogs have survived."
One of the cats was missing an eye, the sheriff said, and the other had a seriously injured leg.
The 55-year-old Kramer was arrested and charged with 20 counts of animal cruelty after investigators spotted outdoor kennels in satellite images they examined after receiving a tip.
"We were looking for physical evidence that some animal breeding was going on," Kidwell said. "After some interviews, we gathered enough information that we could tell that there was definitely enough smoke to check it out."
All of the injured animals were taken to two nearby animal shelters, but authorities left some other cats and three litters of puppies at the property.
The puppies and their mothers had been living in a heated barn, Kidwell said.
Most dogs were golden retrievers, English retrievers, great Danes, poodles and dalmatians.
A sign at the end of the home's driveway advertised puppies for sale.
Each count of animal cruelty carries a possible one-year jail term and $500 fine.
Watch this video report posted online by WLWT-TV: