UPDATE: Rescue efforts continued Friday to pick up the more than 100 dogs that weren't able to be removed from a Pikeville home the previous day.

Caroline Adkins has been charged with animal cruelty.

Officials say that more than 200 animals were in the one house; 166 dogs and more than 40 cats.

Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris says the conditions inside the home were shocking, and he's never seen anything like it.

"There are just dogs walking on top of dogs, 40-plus dogs in a house, it's just truly amazing how the animals are being treated," Morris said Friday.

Morris said the animals were walking and being kept in up to six inches of their own feces, with cages on top of cages.

These conditions led to Caroline Adkins' arrest and charges of animal cruelty.

"It was just – my gosh, look at all the dogs, it was very shocking," Morris explained.

They've been working this case since Monday. One of the biggest challenges was finding a place for 166 dogs and upwards of 40 cats to go.

"The first thing we did was contact Rhea County Sheriff's Department and they sent some people out to assist us that has dealt with this before," said Morris.

Agencies from Rhea County, Wilson County Humane Society, and Dayton city all came out to help on Thursday. Wilson County took all of the cats, and 15 dogs last night. 

Friday, McKamey Animal Center, the Atlanta Humane Society, the Chattanooga Humane Educational Society, New Leash On Life, Cashiers Highlands Humane Society, and the Humane Society of Tulsa all came out to help rescue the more than 100 dogs that were left.

They also called in a veterinarian to assist.

"Well, we called a veterinarian service; Rhea County Medical Dr. Matt Sachs, and he came out and he said in his 20 years of experience this is the worst case he's ever seen."

Morris thanked all of the animal shelters who came out to help rescue the cats and dogs, and says that all of these animals will be put up for adoption. 

"It’s been a very long week but we are proud to say all the Dogs and Cats have been rescued and removed from the property! We have been asked by several different people if we was going to post each dog’s picture in case it is a lost pet," the BCSO said. "Unfortunately we did not have the time to do so. But each shelter that assisted in the rescue is named in the post and I’m certain that within the next week or so the animals that they took back to their shelter will be posted on their websites."


Nearly 150 dogs were found in a Bledsoe County home on Poplar Road near Pikeville Wednesday.

Caroline Adkins has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty in the case.

Caroline Adkins Bledsoe County

The initial headcount of the animals was 150, which could change as they are formally counted and checked by vets. 

Karen McMeekin, with A Time 4 Paws Rescue in Crossville, TN, says she found out about a possible animal cruelty case Monday.

"I received a call on my anonymous animal cruelty hotline, and I also received phone calls from people in the community who know my organization," McMeekin told Channel 3 Thursday.

McMeekin says she drove to the property to check it out herself and that's when she called authorities.

Detective George Hodge with the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office says they've been working nonstop since Monday, including getting a veterinarian to come out and assess the animals.

The vet's recommendation was to take all of the animals off property.

Their work resulted in the arrest of Caroline Adkins with animal cruelty on Wednesday night.

Humane Society said in a statement, "We would like to thank our shelter and rescue partners for opening their doors as well as Bledsoe County Sheriff’s Office for answering the call to help these animals."

McMeekin said, "I'm grateful that it's HSUS [Humane Society of the United States] because they won't leave dogs behind like we won't with our policy."

Bledsoe County doesn't have an animal shelter.

McMeekin says she doesn't know if an animal shelter would have stopped this case, but it helps to have one if you run across a case like this.

"I think that all counties in Tennessee should have animal services, absolutely," McMeekin explained.

Channel 3 did speak with Adkins' husband who declined to do an interview but he says that this county needs an animal shelter.

RELATED: Proposed bill would make animal cruelty a federal felony