SWEDEBORG, Mo. (KY3) - Animal lovers conducted a large rescue operation in Pulaski County last weekend.
A desperate neighbor called for help when he saw his neighbors' animals sick and starving with their owners nowhere in sight. Little did he know that more than 30 animals, including dogs, cats and other animals, were on the property -- until help arrived.
Some of the rescuers from the Loving Paws Adoption Center described the situation as the worst they've ever seen.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Cherie Newcombrigsby of Loving Paws Adoption Center. "I couldn't sleep that night because the image of the deceased dog in the little crate just kept popping in my mind."
The next door neighbor Chris Stovall, who tried to feed and water the ones he could get to, said he had been trying for awhile to get some help for the animals.
"It's right across from a public school and it's shocking that people would allow this to go on," Stovall said.
All the animals were dehydrated and were starving. Some of them survived to be rescued.
"It smelled like death," said Kristine Stone of Loving Paws Adoption Center.
"I had never ever smelled anything like that," Newcombrigsby said.
Kim Fuhr with the Pulaski County Humane Society said it's a case of hoarding.
"The conditions of the trailer, the house trailer, would definitely be what I consider uninhabitable," Fuhr said. "It was horrendous. Nothing should have to live like that."
Investigators said the pet owners had been living here without permission for awhile and just disappeared recently.
The community is supporting these animals in a fostering process until the investigation is closed and these animals can be adopted.
The case is still under investigation, which means all the animals involved cannot be adopted and have to be fostered within the area.
Deputies say they believe the pet owners are driving a royal blue commercial van GMC with tinted windows.