TAZEWELL (WATE) - A Claiborne County couple is facing 134 counts of animal cruelty, after police confiscate dozens of animals from him.
According to dispatchers in Claiborne County, Charlie
Gregory, 58, of Pineville, Ky. and Taniciah Little, 54, of Andersonville, were pulled over by Tazewell Police around 2 a.m. Saturday for a routine traffic stop.
That's when police found 134 animals crammed into the back of the horse trailer they were pulling.
The animals were immediately seized and their owner arrested.
The Claiborne County Animal Shelter is the new temporary home for all the animals.
In all there are 100 chickens, nine peacocks, 18 rabbits and seven dogs, including six puppies and one beagle.
Shelter employees say they got a call from 911 dispatchers called the shelter just after 2:30 a.m., saying officers had a massive animal abuse case on their hands.
"What I found was a horse van loaded with all these animals. To see these animals in this condition, and so many of them all crammed in together. No food. No water. Just to see them like that is just heartbreaking," said Michael Barrett of the Claiborne County Animal Shelter.
They're now filling every available space at the shelter, a big step up from the way they were being transported.
All six puppies were found sharing a tiny wooden crate, and the beagle was found inside a coke crate, not tall enough for him to stand up in.
"It makes me feel like crying to think that these animals have suffered so much. They're not able to take care of themselves. They're not able to defend themselves," said Claiborne County Animal Shelter Executive Director Liza Martz.
Local veterinarian Dr. Mark Russell came in to examine each animal, starting with the puppies, which he found to be extremely malnourished.
"Quite thin though. We can feel all the ribs. Probably at least 25 percent underweight," said Dr. Russell, of Russell Veterinary Services.
The shelter is providing suitable living conditions for each type animal, including a private room for the rabbits and kennels for the dogs.
Shelter volunteers have already begun building temporary housing for all the chickens.
Run solely on donations, they're asking for the public's help covering the cost of caring for the animals.
"We are going to need a lot of chicken feed and rabbit food and shaving to put in the rooms where we have the rabbits. Just the money to be able to take care of these animals while they're in our care," said Martz.
After being arrested, Gregory and Little signed the puppies over to the shelter, so they are up for adoption once they are healthy enough.
The rest of the confiscated animals are not up for adoption, pending the outcome of those animal cruelty charges.
To donate to the Claiborne County Animal Shelter, contact them at (423) 626-2686.