JEFFERSON, Ark. (KTHV) - Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Lafayette Woods said it was the most significant puppy mill bust in the county's history.
"When I opened the door, there was an overwhelming smell of ammonia from the urine and feces on the property," Woods told reporters Thursday. "Not only was it in the cages and the living areas of the animals but it was also on the floors."
A team of about 15 humane society rescue workers travelled from Washington to assist with the recovery on Mail Route Road. They too were shocked by the findings. "I held dogs that were trembling and shaking and with heavy mats," said Humane Society spokesman Dale Bartlett. "One looked like there was something wrong with its jaw."
In all, 140 dogs were rescued as well as 20 horses and a number of cats, rabbits, turtles, and exotic birds. Misdemeanor citations have been issued to the animals' owners, James and Tara Best of Jefferson. "Likely, in all likelihood based on some of the animals' conditions here those charges will be updated to aggravated animal cruelty which is a felony," added Maj. Woods. "We've had prior complaints in the past but never on this scale."
The animals have been taken to an undisclosed location for now, and are receiving medical care from local veterinarians. While they will be available for adoption in the future, but not immediately. The Humane Society will let the public know when they are ready for adoption.