Over 100 dogs seized from east Tennessee home

Union County dogs

MAYNARDVILLE (WATE) – The Union County Humane Society was closed Saturday as staff worked to process over one hundred dogs seized from a home.

They say all of those dogs were crammed inside the 1,000 square-foot home.

Michael Nichols, 62, and Teresa Nichols, 57, were arrested Thursday and charged with animal cruelty.

An anonymous tip to the humane society complaining about a bad odor coming from the house on Raccoon Valley Road led to the arrests.

Tammy Rouse, executive director of the humane society, says she’s never seen anything like this.

Staff found dogs that were well cared for but extremely crowded.

“Yeah, it was literally dogs wall-to-wall,” said Rouse.

Crews are calling it a “hoarding” situation and said many of the female dogs were pregnant or recently gave birth.

“I’ve been in this business for almost 19 years and this is the worst animal hoarding case I’ve ever seen… due to the bad conditions inside the house; you couldn’t go in without a breathing apparatus. It was unbearable,” said Rouse.

Staff with the humane society said it may be several days before the animals are available for adoption, and their budget is extremely stretched.

WATE-TV caught up with Mike Nichols as his dogs were being taken from his home.

He says the dogs comforted his wife.

“It brought her such tremendous joy; she’s named every little one of these animals and loved them. She’s a basket case right now and it’ll take forever to get over this,” said Nichols.

The couple doesn’t want to see their dogs go, but Nichols understands why they have to leave.

“They got just as much a right to live and carry on as anybody else and hopefully now they’ll have a chance to have a life, a different life, a chance with a different family, but we became so attached to them,” he said.

Nichols said for punishment, he and his wife get to keep only 2 dogs, they have to get mental evaluations, and their home will also be regularly checked over the next year.

The shelter is asking for the public to donate cleaning supplies, paper towels, dog houses and money for veterinary care.

For more information on how to donate, visit the Union County Humane Society’s website.

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