(NORTH VERNON) - Animal control officers in Jennings County are calling it one of the worst cases of animal hoarding they've ever seen.
79 dogs were taken from a trailer on Ellingsworth Way in North Vernon.
Some of them were so sickly they couldn't survive. Dozens more are looking for homes as local animal rescue groups come to their aid, arranging for foster care.
Some of the dogs appeared frightened and were shaking. The dogs had never been outside until the rescue.
"Several of them will not fall asleep laying down, they fall asleep sitting up," said Dawn Moore with Moore Love Rescue. "They have not even learned to relax."
Moore's group took 18 of the dogs and found foster homes for them.
The animal shelter in Greensburg also took some to care for, as did the Madison Correctional Facility for Women. The animal shelter in Jennings County is housing six.
"There was dogs everywhere," said Jennings County animal control officer Heather Kessler.
Kessler says rescue worker's eyes burned, it was hard to breathe and very unhealthy. There was dog feces and urine everywhere.
Jeff and Dawn Bowman, the couple who lived in the trailer and owned the dogs, could be charged with animal neglect. County officials said they allowed the Bowman's to keep three animals on the condition that they get the pets spayed or neutered.
Jeff Bowman told authorities the couple started with just five dogs, but they kept multiplying because they couldn't afford to get the animals fixed.
The Madison facility had agreed to pay for the remaining animals to be spayed and neutered.
Now the Bowman's are facing a $2,500 fine and the possibility their mobile home could be condemned.
Bowman says his wife is heartbroken over losing her dogs.
Those close to the case say they're heartbroken that the hoarding led to the suffering and deaths of so many animals.
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