RACINE (WITI) -- Animals seized from a Caledonia shelter and two private residences last week are now in a temporary shelter until they're ready for adoption. On Wednesday, June 4th, FOX6 News got a look at the animals -- and an update on when they may be ready for adoption.
The Wisconsin Humane Society says a total of 81 dogs, 10 cats and two pigs were seized from the Orphan Kanines facility in Caledonia, and two private residences belonging to Orphan Kanines' owner, Debra Gray (one in Caledonia and one in Racine).
55-year-old Gray has been charged with 85 misdemeanor counts of "mistreating animals -- intentional or negligent violation" and one count of "operating as a dog breeder or dealer without a license."
It all started on Thursday, May 22nd, when a lieutenant with the Caledonia Fire Department attempted to conduct an inspection at the Orphan Kanines facility.
A criminal complaint against Gray says the lieutenant was met by Gray — who attempted to prevent the lieutenant from entering the facility.
The lieutenant was eventually let in — and the complaint says he reported being so overcome with a strong odor of ammonia from animal urine and feces that he had difficulty breathing and swallowing.
A Caledonia police officer was dispatched to the facility on Wednesday, May 28th — and was able to smell the odor of ammonia while still on the outside of the building. The complaint says the officer believed the ventilation system was not turned on in order to keep the odor inside the facility.
The complaint against Gray says the officer learned Gray had been issued a license to operate a kennel on March 24th, 2014 — with the order that she not have more than 25 dogs.
The complaint says an officer spoke with an individual with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture — who stated that Gray had applied for and been denied a license that would have allowed her to shelter 25 dogs in a calendar year.
The complaint says the police officer made contact with Gray at the Orphan Kanines facility on Thursday, May 29th — and Gray refused to allow him to enter the building — and instead pleaded that he give her some time, and come back later.
Gray told the officer some of the kennels in the rear of the building had “kind of gotten away from her,” according to the complaint.
A search warrant was obtained, and was executed while Gray was at the site with her attorney.
Officers entered the building wearing protective masks and biohazard suits — but had to quickly exit the building because ammonia levels were too high for officers to safely be inside the building, according to the complaint.
The Caledonia Fire Department took ammonia level readings — and reported ammonia levels to be 23ppm at the door, 50ppm five feet in, and 67ppm at the back of the building, according to the complaint.
Officers re-entered and observed large amounts of feces on the floor and inside every kennel. The complaint says some of the feces were beginning to grow mold.
The complaint says animals were observed to have hair that was matted with feces — and most kennels had inadequate bedding.
Most of the kennels were found to have a hard concrete flooring — and most of the animals were found to be living inside plastic crates or Tupperware — according to the complaint.
The complaint says all of the kennels had water dishes — but only about 80 percent had water. The bowls that did contain water appeared to be cloudy and possibly contaminated, according to the complaint.
The complaint says a pig that was seized did not have water.
The complaint says the buildup of feces became worse as officers approached the rear of the building.
More dogs were located in an office inside the facility — and feces and urine covered the floor.
The complaint says several of the animals that were removed from the facility had medical ailments: One dog had water buildup in the head, one dog was losing hair, and several dogs had respiratory infections. Some of the dogs were observed to have blisters on their paws — according to the complaint.
More animals were found when officials executed search warrants at two residences owned by Gray.
Gray has pleaded not guilty -- and has posted $5,000 bond.
She has also signed away her rights to all of the animals.
About 40 of the dogs are now being housed in a building near Regency Mall in Racine. It is serving as a temporary emergency shelter for the Wisconsin Humane Society.
There are different types of dogs at the facility -- but most are toy breeds.
The Wisconsin Humane Society says though Gray has relinquished the dogs -- they may not be hers -- so true ownership must be established before the animals will go up for adoption.
"One was a stray dog with an owner searching for him. The dog went missing in early May and she was shocked to see his picture on our Facebook page," Angela Speed with the Wisconsin Humane Society said.
The Wisconsin Humane Society says several of the dogs are being treated for health problems.
"They're being treated for everything from upper respiratory infections to eye infections, ear infections, skin infections, sores on their paws from standing in urine and feces," Speed said.
The sickest animals are at other Wisconsin Humane Society facilities.
One puppy is said to be suffering from brain swelling.
Caring for all of these animals is costly -- but the Wisconsin Humane Society says donations have been coming in.
"Every single monetary donation is being matched by an anonymous donor," Speed said.
Because the Wisconsin Humane Society now has a very large number of animals, it is offering a 20 percent discount on adoptions for dogs currently ready for adoption.
When the seized animals are ready for adoption -- which is still weeks away, the organization will notify the public through its website.
The Wisconsin Humane Society is in great need of items to help care for the dogs seized from the Caledonia shelter. That includes everything from cleaning supplies to shelving units and pet toys. CLICK HERE to review the list -- and donate items to WHS.
If you would simply like to donate cash to the cause, the WHS has an online donation form that's simple to complete. It can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
For the latest on the seizure of the Caledonia dogs, the Wisconsin Humane Society is offering updates. Read them by CLICKING HERE.