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70 animals removed from home with unsanitary conditions

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LAKE BUTLER, Fla. – Deputies have removed about 70 dogs and other animals from a north Florida rescue group because of unsanitary conditions, authorities said.

The Union County Sheriff's Office announced on Facebook last week that deputies and animal control officers executed a search warrant earlier this month at a rural home. Animal control officers had responded to the home in January following concerns over the animals' conditions. Officials described it as a “rescue turned hoarder” situation.

“With all the recent large scale animal abuse cases our agency has seen, we have demonstrated that we will not tolerate animal abuse, and we are their voice," Sheriff Brad Whitehead said in a statement.

Investigators found animals suffering from untreated medical conditions, with some exhibiting severe signs of neglect, the sheriff's office said.

“With all the recent large-scale animal abuse cases our agency has seen, we have demonstrated that we will not tolerate animal abuse and we are their voice," Sheriff Brad Whitehead wrote on Facebook.

A group called Guardians of Rescue assisted deputies with removing the animals from the property and collecting evidence.

“This is a most egregious case, where animals entrusted to so-called rescuers were confined in unsanitary wire cages, stacked upon one another, living in their own excrement. Untreated medical conditions lead to infection, loss of limbs, and horrendous suffering,” said Lea Moore, who directs operations for Guardians of Rescue in Georgia.

Detectives are pursuing animal cruelty charges, but no charges were immediately filed, officials said.

Photos posted on Facebook show the condition of the property and the dogs.
Photos posted on Facebook show the condition of the property and the dogs. (Union County Sheriff's Office)