"The smell and condition of the home was just not proper for either animals or human occupation," said Chief David Smetana with the Pleasant Prairie Police Department.
Officers were called to a home in the 8600 block of 120th Avenue after receiving a complaint about the number of dogs and the conditions they were living in at the residence. According to the criminal complaint, the person who called in was concerned about the woman in the home saying, "she smelled of a rotting corpse."
Police served a search warrant and discovered a "large amount of animal feces from numerous dogs living in the home with the property owner."
According to the complaint, the feces was up to four inches thick in some areas.
"There was dog feces everywhere," Smetana said. "On top of tables. On top of every flat surface in the house. All over the floor, the stairs that lead to the second floor were covered in an inch of filth and dog feces."
Officers were forced to wear protective suits to conduct the search in the home that was deemed uninhabitable by authorities. They say the lights were out in the home and the heat was off. It was so cold, they could see their breath inside the home.
Darleen Chick, 66, faces 20 charges related to improper animal shelter sanitation and was being held at the Kenosha County Jail.
According to the criminal complaint, Chick claimed to have a kennel license. She told officers that she has been depressed since her husband died seven years ago and "did not care what was going on in the world."
The Safe Harbor Humane Society is working hard to clean the 52 dogs rescued from a Pleasant Prairie home. pic.twitter.com/jou3WhJqPQ
When speaking of animal hoarders, Smetana said it can get out of hand quickly without them understanding what's happening.
"If two are good, eight are better," Smetana said. "If eight are good, 16 are better and so on and so on. It leads to a situation like this."
The house was deemed uninhabitable by the Pleasant Prairie Zoning employees.
The dogs were seized and relocated to the Safe Harbor Humane Society.
"The youngest ones didn't have their eyes open," said Chandra Riberich, Exec. Director for Safe Harbor Humane Society. "They were within a week old and up to nine years at least. We can tell that some of these moms have had litters of puppies. Multiple litters. That's what has contributed to this problem."
Here is one of the 52 dogs rescued by Safe Harbor Humane Society. Criminal Complaint says there were up to 4 inches of feces all over the home. Photo Credit: Safe Harbor Humane Society Facebook. pic.twitter.com/lLPrVvEyZq
Safe Harbor was buzzing Friday afternoon. The staff was working diligently to clean the pups up and give them some loving care after the conditions they were living in. The dogs were shaky and nervous with all of the people around but the folks at the shelter were there to help calm them down.
"The dogs were bonding with you," Riberich said. "I held a puppy for a while and a couple of older dogs. You saw in their eyes they were thankful for your care and attention. It was a roller coaster ride but all of the people that helped did a great job of staying positive and knowing we're there for the benefit of the animals."
Riberich said because the dogs were well-fed they were in good health condition. They're still processing them for the appropriate vaccinations.
She's just glad they were there to help them get out of a terrible situation.
"They're family," Riberich said. "You have your own dog and can't imagine them living in those conditions. It's sad to see. No dog should have to live in those conditions."
The dogs will have to wait until the legal process plays out before the shelter can adopt them out to good homes.