Couple accused of abusing dozens of dogs - FOX 13 News

Couple accused of abusing dozens of dogs

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An Auburndale couple has been arrested and accused of animal cruelty.

Polk County deputies say they got a tip that Randall Huggins and Bernice Walskey had drugs, so they went to search their home on 3921 Owens Road.

Deputies say they found 47 dogs living in tiny cages. They were standing in their own waste and didn't have any food or water, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies also found some drug packing items in the home.

Huggins and Walskey are each facing 40 counts of animal cruelty.

Every night, neighbors would hear yapping, yelping, and barking. They knew the couple who lived in the mobile home down the street had dogs, but had no idea how many.

"I kept saying to myself, why don't they shut those durn dogs up?" said Chris Turlington.

Now, Turlington and other neighbors know why that was an almost impossible request. There were just too many.

Bernice Walsky and Keith Huggins had a lot more dogs that anyone ever guessed. On Friday, Polk deputies hauled out 47, mostly daschunds from the mobile home on Owens Road in Auburndale. Walskey and Huggins also handed over four pit bulls and a wolf hybrid.

Investigators say the animals were living in deplorable conditions, housed in small crates, and sitting on their own filth. They say many have fleas, worms, skin conditions and more severe medical problems.

It is unclear if the animals will go up for adoption through the Polk Sheriff's Office. They may be farmed out to rescue groups to evaluate then possibly place.

The Polk Sheriff's Office has investigated the couple for possible animal abuse twice in the last two years. A spokesperson for the agency says the dogs had food, water, and seemed healthy.

Along with animal cruelty charges, Huggins and Wilskey are facing drug charges because investigators found 14 pounds of synthetic marijuana.

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