- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BUNKIE, La. (AP) - Thirty-nine animals are in a shelter after being rescued from what is described as a hoarding situation in Avoyelles Parish.

In Bunkie, 27 dogs and 12 cats were seized Monday from the home of Maxine and Gordon Doughty. KATC-TV (https://bit.ly/2bh2164 ) reports the couple was arrested last week and each faces one count of animal cruelty.

The Doughtys have since bonded out of jail. It was not immediately known if they’re represented by an attorney who could comment on their behalf.

Toney Wade with the Louisiana Animal Task Force was one of about eight people who helped with the seizure. He said the smell was so bad that it almost made him sick.

There were dogs in multiple cages in front, back and inside the house, Wade said.

“The animals were skinny, living in their own feces, covered in fleas, had never been bathed and almost all of the dogs had heart worms,” he said.

In order to remove them, all had to be tranquilized, he added.

Sheriff Doug Anderson, in a news release Tuesday, said they began an investigation July 25 after getting a complaint about neglected animals at the Doughty home. He said the couple was given instructions at that time on what was required by law and told there would be follow-up to ensure that the animals’ conditions had improved.

On Aug. 4, deputies returned found no improvements. “Conditions, in fact, had worsened,” Anderson said, sparking the court order to rescue the animals.

Wade said the owner was upset.

“She was crying,” Wade recalled. “I think she really loved her animals and just got herself in a situation she had too many. She couldn’t deal with it. She was overloaded…severely overloaded. They weren’t in the financial situation to provide vet care for the animals.”

Wade said he anticipates the Doughtys will face more charges.

“If you find yourself in a situation with the animals, reach out to us,” Wade said. “We will work with you to get your count down and help you to avoid prosecution. If you work with us, we’ll work with you.”

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Information from: KATC-TV, https://katc.com

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