MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Animal Services is now at crisis-level status after taking in 40 dogs from a Berclair home Thursday night.
The owner of those dogs is now charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.
The home on Zelda Lane was considered inhabitable by Memphis Animal Services.
According to neighbors and investigators, the dogs' owner, Bonnie Maher-Hazel, didn't even live there.
Inside the home there were wire kennels pushed into each room and covered in feces.
“All I could do is walk through and look at them and say, ‘We got you. We’ve got you,’” said Alexis Pugh, MAS director.
Pugh says most of the dogs were found with six inches of feces covering the bottom of their kennels.
One dog appeared to have a chewed off tail and another was found with open wounds.
“I thought I had seen the worst until I arrived on scene last night,” said Pugh.
MAS first made contact with Maher-Hazel last week by posting a note on the door, asking to check on the animals after smelling a foul odor coming from the home.
“The owner did contact us and indicated that she did feel like she did get a little overwhelmed and but wanted us to work with her,” said Pugh.
MAS says when Maher-Hazel stopping working with its officers, Memphis Police were called in to help.
Industrial exhaust fans were used to air out the home before it was safe for officers to enter.
“What I saw in that home was no way for any living creature to be kept,” said Pugh.
WMC Action News 5 learned Bonnie Maher-Hazel runs “Save Our Shepherds Rescue,” a volunteer nonprofit pet rescue organization.
Neighbors said she truly loved the animals and often used her own money to pay for food and medicine for the dogs.
Still, they believe the animals are now getting care they need.
MAS is completely full right now.
Even if you can't adopt a dog, taking an animal home for the weekend or a week will help until they can find rescue groups to take in the animals.
MAS is open daily from 12-4 p.m.