MAYNARDVILLE - A Union County couple is facing animal cruelty charges after more than 80 dogs were seized from their home.
Michael and Teresa Nichols were arrested on Thursday. Each was charged with one count of animal cruelty. They were each released on a $1,000 bond and made their first court appearance Friday.
Michael Nichols is 62 and his wife is 57 years old, according to Union County authorities.
Officials with the Union County Humane Society got a complaint about an odor coming from the home. When they went to check it out with deputies, they could see more than fifty dogs inside the house.
"The dogs were not in cages," Tammy Rouse, executive director of the Union County Humane Society, said. "They were loose in the house. They were scared so there was a lot of barking. It was a lot of dogs."
Investigators said most of the dogs, which were of all shapes and sizes, were well-fed but living in extremely crowded conditions. Many of the female dogs were pregnant or recently had puppies.
There are still more dogs in the home that will be seized Saturday.
Humane Society officials described it as a "hoarding situation."
"This is a pretty big deal," Rouse said. "It's not every day you have to remove a hundred animals from a house."
Rouse said the Humane Society needs the public to donate cleaning supplies, paper towels, and resting benches or dog houses because the influx of dogs is putting a drain on their budget. She said they will also need donations for veterinary care.
The Union County Humane Society will be closed to the public Saturday to process all of the dogs. Rouse said it could be several days to a week before some of the animals will be up for adoption.
Phone: (865) 992-7969
Union County Humane Society
P.O. Box 625
Maynardville, Tennessee 37807