More than 75 dogs have been rescued from a home in Cottrellville Township on Tuesday.
The rescue spanned a couple of days, with the couple inside refusing to give them all up until the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office got a warrant Tuesday afternoon.
Sheriff Tim Donnellon said it’s one of the worst animal hoarding cases he’s seen.
"I can't recall in the last almost 30 years, 75 plus dogs free roaming in the first floor of a house, that's new for us,” said Donnellon.
The couple living inside the home, a 56-year-old woman and 66-year-old man, bred, showed and rescued dogs according to the sheriff, but at some point the situation got out of hand.
"Animals covered with feces, urine, inhumane,” said Donnellon.
The couple’s next door neighbor called animal control about the situation, he had been hearing barking for months, but he said that wasn’t his breaking point.
"The smell is really what set it off, the stench, it was horrible, you couldn't enjoy yourself outside,” said Greg Bosel, the next door neighbor.
Even though Bosel could smell it, he had no idea how bad the situation really was inside his neighbor’s home.
"I thought maybe they had 15 dogs and I'm shocked to learn now they had over 70,” said Bosel.
"I just found out shortly ago and it's mind boggling. The home is not that big,” he said.
Some of the more than 75 dogs are purebred Norwegian Buhunds and Norrbottenspets. The dogs have been split between foster homes connected with breed organizations, the St. Clair County Humane Society and the St. Clair County Sheriff.
The couple will likely face animal cruelty charges.
"I'm a dog lover, so I felt really bad about this, but I think it's inhumane,” said Bosel.
None of the dogs are available for adoption yet because it’s still a criminal case, but they all have a safe place to stay while the investigation continues.