More than 140 animals seized from Morgan County home

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. -- More than 140 animals were seized from a Morgan County home.

Now, their owner is facing animal cruelty and drug dealing chargers.

Employees from the Morgan County Humane Society said they found 79 birds, 45 dogs, 12 cats and five fish at the house. The Humane Society was contacted by the Morgan County Sheriff's Office, which was originally called out to the home for an overdose.

"The dogs outside were living in mud," said Delaney Foster, who was among the Humane Society employees who went to the house. "The cats were living in their feces. They didn’t have any litter boxes. There were dogs kenneled out by a garage that did not have any food or water access, no shelter."

One Yorkie's body reveals the physical strain he went through.

"He needed better nutrition, he needed dental," said Jacqueline Kaufman, outreach coordinator for the Humane Society. "So his jaw became brittle and it broke. He needs to see a specialist. We’re hoping with oral surgery he’ll be on the mend."

Joseph Smith, who owned the animals, is now facing a long list of charges.

"It did seem to be a puppy mill situation," Kaufman said. "We don’t know how long they had been there."

The focus is now on helping the animals overcome their health issues and hopefully find new owners.

"Our main concern has just been getting adequate veterinary care for the animals," Kaufman said.  "Our number one priority has been making sure everyone is safe and healthy."

Still, the process is putting a big burden on a shelter that is already struggling with the number of animals under its roof.

"Our medical fund has taken quite a hit," Kaufman said. "That’s where our extreme need is right now."

If you'd like to adopt one of the animals that were taken from the home or donate to the Morgan County Humane Society, you can reach the shelter by calling 765-349-9177.

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