MUNCIE, Ind. - More than five dozen dogs have been removed from a Muncie animal rescue after they were found living in filth.
Adopt A Lab, an animal rescue and adoption organization at 3515 S. Walnut St., agreed to voluntarily surrender the dogs after officials with the county health department and the city animal shelter showed up to investigate complaints.
Sixty-three dogs of various breeds were removed from the facility, which was covered in urine and feces, officials said.
"There was a lot of feces and urine. Not your typical shelter mess," Muncie animal shelter director Phil Peckinpaugh said. "I realize that that shelters have feces and urine, but this was excessive."
Peckinpaugh told reporters the facility had good intentions but had become overwhelmed by the number of dogs.
Investigators said the small, ranch-style building wasn't big enough to house so many animals, and the building violated zoning and licensing regulations.
A few of the dogs will need medical attention, but none will be put down and most were relatively healthy, officials said.
The dogs will be cared for at various shelters in the area until they are deemed ready to be adopted out.
The influx of rescued animals has pushed the capacity of the Muncie shelter to well over 150 percent.
As part of the voluntary surrender, officials agreed not to prosecute Adopt A Lab.
While shelter officials said they heard from angry Muncie citizens who wanted the Adopt a Lab operators charged criminally, Animal Care and Control officials declined.
"And I understand that as an animal lover, but we were acting in the best interests of those animals," Peckinpaugh said. "And getting them out with a surrender form and getting them surrendered to us so that they were immediately available for adoption, immediately available for someone, was the absolute right thing to do."
Had officials filed charges, the dogs could have been quarantined for months.