More than 100 animals were from a Central Florida animal shelter on Thursday after police received complaints that the animals were being kept in unsafe conditions.
Authorities say 100 cats and 26 dogs were removed from The Animal Rescue Konsortium shelter in Deland. Fire department officials wore oxygen masks and used fans to air out the facility.
PHOTOS: Animals rescued from shelter
By Thursday night, most of the animals had been relocated to government-run animal shelters or private rescue facilities. A few cats were left inside the home overnight.
"I'm appalled at what's happening," said ARK's owner Maggi Hall, who insists the dogs and cats that get dropped off on her front porch are well cared for. "We have 100 percent adoption rate, and spend over $50,000 annually on medication for the animals."
Police brought in veterinarians, who determined the animals were in poor living conditions and many in need of medical attention.
"They are important to all of us because we love each and every one of them," said Jennifer Johnson, who works and lives at the shelter.
Johnson said she was shocked when police served her a search warrant Thursday morning on complaints of animal mistreatment.
"The living conditions? We do everything every day," said Johnson. "I never sit down."
Several people said they issued complaints ranging from noise violations to the conditions in which the animals are forced to live. Others who work for the shelter said they were shocked to hear of the allegations.
"Whatever is going on, I just can't believe it," said Melissa Dahm.
Johnson said although they have more than 100 animals at the shelter, their love for animals in need is what caused them to take in so many pets.
"There was a dog that was dumped out, just left there like it was worthless," said Johnson. "Well, it's not worthless to us because we love them and that's what we are here for."
The dogs will be staying at volunteer shelters, but the city is still trying to find a place to house the cats. None of the 126 animals taken from the shelter will be immediately available for adoption.
A hearing will be held to determine if the owner can keep the pets based on the conditions of the animals and the condition of the shelter.