BETHEL, Ohio (FOX19) - Dozens of animals were found in a state of neglect Saturday in an apparent hoarding situation at a home in Bethel, local rescue officials say.
An estimated 50 animals, including two dead dogs, were found in various locations within and outside of the home, according Meaghan Colville, a program director with the Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society. The exact location of the home has not been released.
Colville said the animals were living in unsanitary conditions — some in cages and sitting in their own waste.
“The magnitude was a lot worse than we thought," Colville said. “A lot of the animals who had not been outdoors or on a leash, maybe ever.”
The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office originally responded on Saturday to the home to find German shepherds in cages in the basement, horses confined in a small area outside and many of the animals living inside the house itself.
The exact number of animals at the home is currently unknown, Colville said, because officials are still searching for cats roaming the property.
The animals they have accounted for include 21 German shepherds, six horses, 20 cats, several ferrets, and guinea pigs.
According to Colville, the married couple who lived in the home could not keep the animals’ quarters clean over the course of a few years. She said it is unclear why they did not ask for help from local authorities.
“I sometimes suspect maybe you could be embarrassed or you don’t want to get in trouble," she said. "In this situation, I’m not exactly sure why help wasn’t asked for sooner.”
Local shelters and rescues have stepped in to take in some of the animals. They are expected to undergo health evaluations and receive medical treatment. Then, the adoption process will begin.
More than $6,000 has already been raised in an effort to help the animals.
All Dogs Come From Heaven was one of the rescues that has taken in some of the animals.
“We ... have been involved with numerous hoarding and neglect cases and multiple seizure cases, this is one of the worst we have seen,” assistant director Margaret Coplen said.
Criminal charges have not been filed against the owners at this time, according to Colville.
Clermont Co. Animal Control is investigating.