SILVER LAKE, Ind. (WNDU)- An ongoing investigation in Silver Lake results in 56 dogs being taken away from a residence Tuesday night.
It took two fires to get over 50 dogs rescued from a Kosciusko County home on Tuesday. First responders say the home is in such bad shape that they're trying to get it condemned.
The house in the 3000 block of Hilltop Lane in Silver Lake, Ind. was home to 56 chihuahuas at one point. Two stove-top fires later the homeowner is recovering after being taken to the hospital, and all those dogs are now in a safer place.
"This would have been one of the worst houses they're been in," John Conley says. He's the Chief of the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
The first fire happened on March 23rd and and the second on April 6th. Crews faced deplorable conditions inside the home.
"I would say it's disgusting. We've been in bad houses where you have hoarders, but nothing this bad as far as what you've seen, smelled, or anything like that," Conley says.
Officials say the now vacant home is only around 800 square feet and had over fifty chihuahuas inside, not well taken care of and living in terrible conditions.
"I would say the majority of them seemed skiddish," Conley adds.
After a search warrant was served the pups were moved to the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County. They're now packed with pups and are asking for help with volunteers and supplies.
"We had no idea there was that many dogs in the house. We were expecting 25 to 30, not the 56 we got," Jason McGlennen says. He's the Silver Lake Town Marshall.
Police say there is no city ordinance to address how many dogs a person can own. This is why it took some time to get those dogs out of that home.
"The ordinance that we looked at a few years ago was talked about, having a cap on the number of dogs. It was debated but the council at that time did not pass it," McGlennen says. "It just never got picked back up."
They say the homeowner is a man around 60 or 70-years-old who may not know his dogs have been removed.
"He'll be aware I'm sure, if he's watching the news but to my knowledge he has not been back since," McGlennen says.
Silver Lake Police aren't saying exactly what charges the dog owner could face. As for the next steps, police and fire are looking to the Board of Health to get the home condemned but say that process has been slowed by the current pandemic.
"I will say that the conditions of the home are less than ideal for even one occupant and the 56 dogs that were taken out," McGlennen says.
Meanwhile, the Kosciusko County Animal Welfare League is asking for help from the community. They posted a message on Facebook, saying they're in dire need of towels, blankets, dishes, flea and tick medication, small breed pet food, cleaning supplies among other.
The AWL is asking the community to leave the donations to the side of the front doors of the red building, which is located at 1048 S. CR 325E, Pierceton.