Crimetracker: 75 animals rescued from Hamblen County home


UPDATE: MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- From dogs to tropical fish dozens of animals found living in filth at an animal shelter in Hamblen County over the weekend.

Local 8 News is learning the investigation into the Puppy Patch has been going on for months.

Animal Control Officer Bobby Short was first on the scene, "We seen 70 plus dogs living in their feces, we seen some dogs running around loose, just the ammonia smell was enough to knock you over."

Animals living their own waste. Urine filling their food bowls while some were cramped into unimaginable conditions.

"So initially, we went inside and made contact with the owner of the organization or whatever you want to call it. We had to definitely call in for back up because it was something we couldn't handle by ourselves,"
says another Animal Control Officer Jose Rojas.

This isn't the first time these men have tried to shut down the Puppy Patch.

"We had received a tip a few months ago related to this incident and we tried to make contact with the owners and had been unsuccessful," says Short.

Kimberly and Melissa Turner, who own the shelter, often posted pictures of adoptable animals on their Facebook page.

But what you didn't see were these pictures, taken by the Animal Rescue Corps out of Washington D.C. called in to save these animals.

"This has been the nastiest, dirtiest thing I've ever seen by far in Hamblin County," says Rojas.

Now, authorities are looking for animals that may have been fostered out from that shelter that never received government funding.

"We will need to come pick up those dogs as part of the investigation. "

Since this story made headlines Hamblen County Animal Control says they've been swamped with calls of possible abuse coming from all over the county.

You can contact them at 423-581-1494 and you may remain anonymous.


UPDATE:
Hamblen County authorities say they have arrested two women in connection with an investigation into an animal rescue organization operating from a home.

Melissa Renee Turner, 45, and Kimberly Dawn Turner were arrested and released on bond.


The Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) says it rescued 73 dogs and two cats from a home on Saturday.

The Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society made the find on Friday, while responding to complaints about an animal rescue organization operating in the home.

According to a news release, ARC says responders found some of the dogs had been without food, water, and necessary veterinary care, while being kept in small, filthy crates. Dozens of other dogs were found running loose in a house with piles of garbage on urine-soaked and feces-covered floors.

The animals are being taken to an emergency shelter in Lebanon where ARC will provide care until the animals can be placed with shelters and rescue groups.

One of the two property owners and alleged rescue operators was arrested Friday and charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty. They're out on bond now. An arrest warrant has been issued for the second suspected owner and operator who remains on the run.


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